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Ocean Plastics Host Surprising Microbial Array
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's life-will-find-a-way department:
MTorrice writes "A surprising suite of microbial species colonizes plastic waste floating in the ocean, according to a new study. The bacteria appeared to burrow pits into the plastic. One possible explanation is that bacteria eat into the polymers, weakening the pieces enough to cause them to break down more quickly and eventually sink to the sea floor. While the microbes could speed the plastic's decay, they might also cause their own ecological problems, the researchers say."

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State Photo-ID Databases Mined By Police
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hits-keep-coming department:
Rick Zeman writes "Showing once again that once a privacy door is opened every law enforcement agency will run through it, The Washington Post details how state drivers license photo databases are being mined by various LEOs in their states--and out. From the article: '[L]aw enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities. Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.'"

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China Bumps US Out of First Place For Fastest Supercomptuer
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's king-of-the-hill department:
An anonymous reader writes "China's Tianhe-2 is the world's fastest supercomputer, according to the latest semiannual Top 500 list of the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world. Developed by China's National University of Defense Technology, the system appeared two years ahead of schedule and will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, before the end of the year."

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Book Review: The Chinese Information War
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
benrothke writes "It's said that truth is stranger than fiction, as fiction has to make sense. Had The Chinese Information War: Espionage, Cyberwar, Communications Control and Related Threats to United States Interests been written as a spy thriller, it would have been a fascinating novel of international intrigue. But the book is far from a novel. It's a dense, well-researched overview of China's cold-war like cyberwar tactics against the US to regain its past historical glory and world dominance." Read below for the rest of Ben's review. The Chinese Information War: Espionage, Cyberwar, Communications Control and Related Threats to United States Interests
author Dennis Poindexter
pages 192
publisher McFarland
rating 9/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-0786472710
summary Fascinating overview on the cyberwar with China

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Can Red Hat Do For OpenStack What It Did For Linux?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's making-it-pretty department:
Brandon Butler writes "Red Hat made its first $1 billion commercializing Linux. Now, it hopes to make even more doing the same for OpenStack. Red Hat executives say OpenStack – the open source cloud computing platform – is just like Linux. The code just needs to be massaged into a commercially-hardened package before enterprises will really use it. But just because Red Hat successfully commercialized Linux does not guarantee its OpenStack effort will go as well. Proponents say businesses will trust Red Hat as an OpenStack distribution company because of its work in the Linux world. But others say building a private cloud takes a lot more than just throwing some code on top of a RHEL OS."

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DNA Fog Helps Identify Trespassers, Thieves, and Brigands
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you're-covered-in-it department:
Zothecula writes "Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS) has developed a new approach to solve crimes using DNA tagging. The difference is that instead of tagging the objects being stolen, the company's system tags the perpetrator with DNA. While this has been tried before by applying the DNA to a fleeing criminal with a gun, ADNAS has adopted a more subtle approach."

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SanDisk Focusing More On Desktop and Mobile SATA SSDs, Extreme II Series Tested
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's trying-it-out department:
MojoKid writes "Odds are, if you've purchased anything that uses Flash memory in the last 20 years or so, you already own a piece of SanDisk technology. The company has been in Flash storage since the late '80s and manufactures products used in everything from smartphones to digital cameras. Even though it enjoys a long history in the Flash memory business, SanDisk is perhaps not as well known for its Solid State Drive (SSD) solutions for desktop and mobile PCs. However, SanDisk recently expanded their product stack with new, high-performance SSDs that leverage the company's own NAND Flash memory and Marvell's popular 88SSS9187 controller. The new drives are SanDisk's Extreme II family of SSDs targeted performance enthusiasts, workstations professionals and gamers. The initial line-up of drives consists of 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB models. Performance specifications for the three drives come in at 545MB/s – 550MB/s for reads with write performance from 340MB/s to 510MB/s, depending on density. In the benchmarks, SanDisk's Extreme II SSD showed it has the chops to hang with some of the fastest drives on the market from Samsung, Corsair and OCZ."

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Man Of Steel Leaps Over Record With $125.1 Million To Mixed Reviews
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's It's-a-bird-it's-a-plane-it's-a-guy-in-front-of-a-green-screen department:
The Superman reboot Man of Steel broke the record for the biggest June opening weekend ever with a whopping $125.1 million. Reviews have been mixed so far, ranging from: "DC and Warner Brothers have opted to produce a movie that foregoes a character-driven story. Instead, we're left with a trite blockbuster that holds beautiful special effects, an inspiring music score, a story that panders to the movie-goer who refrains from looking deep into the story, and neglects to define Superman as character, leaving him only as a hollow symbol and stock character, which ultimately leaves the movie about the events that transpire rather than the characters involved in them," to " What this version of the iconic DC Comics superhero does is emote convincingly. Thanks to director Zack Snyder and a serious-minded script by David S. Goyer (who shares story credit with his The Dark Knight collaborator, Christopher Nolan), Man of Steel gives the last son of Krypton an action-packed origin story with a minimum of camp and an intense emotional authenticity. Not bad for somebody who spends half the movie wearing blue tights." Personally, I found it to be the best 2-hour action sequence with 30 minutes of stock romance involving Superman that I am likely to see this summer. What did you think?

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Apple Details US Requests For Customer Data
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's give-me-a-number department:
An anonymous reader writes "Not to be left out Apple has released details about government requests for customer data. The company said it received between 4,000-5,000 government requests, affecting as many as 10,000 accounts or devices. From the article: 'The iPad maker said that it received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies for customer data from December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, and that 9,000 to 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in the requests. Apple did not state how many of the requests were from the National Security Agency or how many affected accounts or devices may have been tied to any NSA requests.' Facebook and Microsoft released their numbers this weekend."

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Canadian Couple Charged $5k For Finding 400-Year-Old Skeleton
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-found-it-you-bought-it department:
First time accepted submitter Rebecka Schumann writes "Ontario couple Ken Campbell and Nicole Sauve said a recent fence installation led them to discover what is being labeled a historical find. Sauve, who said the duo originally believed the skeleton to be from bones of an animal, called the Ontario Provincial Police to investigate; Forensic Anthropologist Michael Spence confirmed the bones were that of an aboriginal woman who died at age 24 between the late 1500s to the early 1600s. In spite of reporting their find and Spence's evaluation, Suave and Campbell were told they were required to hire an archeologist to assess their property at their own expense under Ontario's Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act. The act, which requires evaluation for all properties found to house human remains, has the Canadian couple stuck with a big bill."

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MS To Indie Devs: You Have a To Have a Publisher
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's name-recognition department:
Loadmaster writes "The new Oddworld game New 'n' Tasty is coming to every platform in the current generation and even the next generation but not the Xbox One. It's not that developer Oddworld Inhabitants isn't porting the game. It's not that they hate Microsoft or the Xbox One. No, it's that Microsoft has taken an anti-indie dev stance with the Xbox One. While the game industry is moving to Kickstarter and self-funded shops, Microsoft has decided all developers must have a publisher to grace their console."

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Officials Say NSA Probed Fewer Than 300 Numbers - Broke Plots In 20 Nations
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's time-to-justify department:
cold fjord writes "Yet more details about the controversy engulfing the NSA. From CNET: 'Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, explained how the program worked without violating individuals' civil rights. "We take the business records by a court order, and it's just phone numbers — no names, no addresses — put it in a lock box," Rogers told CBS News' "Face The Nation." "And if they get a foreign terrorist overseas that's dialing in to the United Sates, they take that phone number... they plug it into this big pile, if you will, of just phone numbers — it's like a phonebook without any names and any addresses with it — to see if there's a connection, a foreign terrorist connection to the United States." "When a number comes out of that lock box, it's just a phone number — no names, no addresses," he said. "If they think that's relevant to their counterterrorism investigation, they give that to the FBI. Then upon the FBI has to go out and meet all the legal standards to even get whose phone number that is."' From the AP: ' ... programs run by the National Security Agency thwarted potential terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries — and that gathered data is destroyed every five years. Last year, fewer than 300 phone numbers were checked against the database of millions of U.S. phone records ... the intelligence officials said in arguing that the programs are far less sweeping than their detractors allege.... both NSA programs are reviewed every 90 days by the secret court authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under the program, the records, showing things like time and length of call, can only be examined for suspected connections to terrorism, they said. The ... program helped the NSA stop a 2009 al-Qaida plot to blow up New York City subways.'"

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Google Aims To Cull Child Porn By Algorithm, Not Human Review
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's safer-search department:
According to a story at VentureBeat, "Google is working on a new database of flagged images of child porn and abuse that can be shared with other search engines and child protection organizations. The database will help create systems that automatically eliminate that sort of content. ...
If the database is used effectively, any flagged image in the database would not be searchable through participating search engines or web hosting providers. And maybe best of all, computers will automatically flag and remove these images without any human needing to see them."
Here's the announcement.

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Anxiety Gaming Wants To Offer Mental Help Via Game Console
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '13 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-doctor-wizard-actually department:
An Ominous Cow Erred writes "In an odd approach to reaching out to otherwise shut-in sufferers of mental distress, an organization called Anxiety Gaming is betting that online intervention is the best way to reach people with emotional difficulties. Their argument is that the social nature of modern gaming makes it a valid means of reaching people who might not otherwise seek help through more traditional channels. According to their Facebook page, their future intentions seem to include distributing consoles to homes for foster youth, to encourage them to look to games for positival interpersonal communication."

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Saudi Arabia Set To Ban WhatsApp, Skype
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '13 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's and-clear-envelopes-only-please department:
Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia's government, after banning Viber within the kingdom, is poised to prohibit at least two other such communication apps: Skype and WhatsApp. Says the article: "Conventional international calls and texts are a lucrative earner for telecom operators in Saudi Arabia, which hosts around nine million expatriates. These foreign workers are increasingly using Internet-based applications such as Viber to communicate with relatives in other countries, analysts say." With fewer legal options, a wide-scale Internet censorship regime would be easier to implement, too.

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Microsoft Antitrust Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson Dead at 76
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '13 at 08:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's different-kind-of-monopolistic-power department:
McGruber writes "The NY Times has the news that federal judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who ruled in 2000 that Microsoft was a predatory monopoly and must be split in half, has died. He was 76 years old. 'A technological novice who wrote his opinions in longhand and used his computer mainly to e-mail jokes, Judge Jackson refuted Microsoft's assertion that it was impossible to remove the company's Internet Explorer Web browser from its operating system by doing it himself. When a Microsoft lawyer complained that too many excerpts from Bill Gates's videotaped deposition — liberally punctuated with the phrase "I don't remember" — were shown in the courtroom, Judge Jackson said, "I think the problem is with your witness, not the way his testimony is being presented."'"

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Microsoft Reputation Manager's Guide To Xbox One
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '13 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-question-glad-you-asked-that department:
symbolset writes "In the wake of a disastrous E3 product reveal Microsoft has purportedly distributed a confidential internal 100-point 'FAQ' for the Xbox One that reads like it's from the Ministry of Truth. It was of course immediately leaked on pastebin. Kotaku has the story and an amusing online poll. In the discussion below make sure to line up the FAQ entries with the AC comments for extra 'Informative' moderation."

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Revealed: How the UK Spied On Its G20 Allies At London Summits
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '13 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's free-latte-sirs-and-madams? department:
Writing "Wow, this is going to really set the cat amongst the pigeons once this gets around," an anonymous reader links to a story at The Guardian about some good old fashioned friendly interception, and the slide-show version of what went on at recent G20 summits in London:
"Foreign politicians' calls and emails intercepted by UK intelligence; Delegates tricked into using fake internet cafes; GCHQ analysts sent logs of phone calls round the clock; Documents are latest revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden."

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ISPs To Censor Porn By Default In the UK By 2014
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '13 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's registered-medical-exceptions-only department:
An anonymous reader writes "Parental filters for pornographic content will come as a default setting for all homes in the UK by the end of 2013, says David Cameron's special advisor on preventing the sexualization and commercialization of childhood, Claire Perry MP. Internet service providers will be expected to provide filtering technology to new and existing customers with an emphasis on opting out, rather than opting in."

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Archaeologists Discover Lost City In Cambodian Jungle
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '13 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's find-the-recipe-book-for-us-please department:
First time accepted submitter steve_mark66 writes "Australian archaeologists using remote-sensing technology have uncovered an ancient city in Cambodia that has remained hidden for more than a millennium under dense jungle undergrowth. The discovery of Mahendraparvata, a 1,200-year-old lost city that predates Cambodia's famous Angkor Wat temple complex by 350 years, was part of the Hindu-Buddhist Khmer Empire that ruled much of Southeast Asia from about 800 to 1400 A.D., during a time that coincided with Europe's Middle Ages"

The Age has a story of its own, with video.

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