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No SOPA Vote Until 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-when-you-least-expect-it department:
jfruhlinger writes "A victory, or a just a breather? The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has postponed further debate on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) until after Congress' holiday break. At the urging of some SOPA opponents, Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and committee chairman, said Friday he will consider a hearing or a classified briefing on the bill's impact on cybersecurity."

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Ask Slashdot: Technical Advice For a (Fictional) Space Mision?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cheese-miners-revolt-over-thermostat-control department:
An anonymous reader writes "I'm just starting to put together the pieces for a fictional story about a space mission. To put it briefly, I would like to give believability to the story: probably set a few years ahead, just enough for the launching of the first colony in the solar system, but with the known challenges posed by the current technology. Is anyone up for a little technical advice on space travel? A few quick questions: As for the destination, the moon and Mars are the obvious choices, but what else would make sense? How long would it take to get there? What could be the goals of the mission? Any events or tasks that could punctuate an otherwise predictably boring long trip? Any possible sightseeing for beautiful VFX shots? What would be the crew?"

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FCC Pays $100K To Open Source Apps Challenge Winner
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's uncle-sam-wants-his-own-app-store department:
coondoggie writes "The challenge: develop useful, localized open source apps that make local public information more personalized and usable. With that idea as the backdrop, the Federal Communications Commission and the Knight Foundation today awarded Code for America developer Ryan Resella the $30,000 Apps for Communities Challenge grand prize. Resella won for his YAKB.us app, a real time bus notification system for bus riders without a smartphone. Rasella developed an app that uses voice and SMS to deliver arrival times in English and Spanish."

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Technical Details Behind the LAN-Party Optimized House
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-you-take-requests department:
New submitter Temporal writes "Yesterday, Slashdot reported on my LAN-party optimized house. But, lacking from the internet at that time were key technical details: How do I boot 12 machines off a single shared disk? What software do I use? What does my network infrastructure look like? Why do I have such terrible furniture? Is that Gabe Newell on the couch? The answer is a combination of Linux, PXE boot, gPXE, NBD/iSCSI, and LVM snapshots running on generic hardware over generic gigabit ethernet. I have even had several successful LAN parties with a pure-Linux setup, using WINE."

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New Standard For Issuance of SSL/TLS Certificates
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-model-new-flaws department:
wiredmikey writes "In light of the many security breaches and incidents that have undermined the faith the IT industry has in Certificate Authorities (CAs) and their wares, the CA/Browser Forum, an organization of leading CAs and other software vendors, has released the 'Baseline Requirements for the Issuance and Management of Publicly-Trusted Certificates,' an industry-wide baseline standard for the operation of CAs issuing SSL/TLS digital certificates natively trusted by the browser. The CA/Browser Forum is requesting Web browser and operating system vendors adopt the requirements (PDF) as part of their conditions to distribute CA root certificates in their software. According to the forum, the Baseline Requirements are based on best practices from across the SSL/TLS sector and touch on a number of subjects, such as the verification of identity, certificate content and profiles, CA security and revocation mechanisms. The requirements become effective July 1, 2012, and will continue to evolve to address new risks and threats."

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Aging Consoles Find New Life As Video Streamers
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's everybody-needs-a-second-job-these-days department:
MojoKid writes "Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is six years old. The Nintendo Wii is five years old, and so is the Sony PlayStation 3. All three are due for an overhaul (can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?), and while they're still popular gaming platforms, consoles are really starting to shine as streaming media centers. According to market research firm Nielsen, streaming video on game consoles is up over last year. Xbox 360 owners now use their consoles to stream video 14 percent of the time, which is almost as much as PS3 users (15 percent). But it's the Wii that sees the most time as a streaming device, with Wii owners using their consoles to stream video a third of the time."

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Sprint Orders All OEMs To Strip Carrier IQ From Their Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-want-the-bad-pr department:
An anonymous reader writes with a report that Sprint, in an attempt to extricate itself from the Carrier IQ drama, has "ordered that all of their hardware partners remove the Carrier IQ software from Sprint devices as soon as possible." Sprint confirmed that they've disabled the use of Carrier IQ on their end, saying, "diagnostic information and data is no longer being collected." The software is currently installed on roughly 26 million Sprint phones, though the company has only been collecting data from 1.3 million of them.

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Congress's Techno-Ignorance No Longer Funny
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's like-a-series-of-irritating-tubes department:
pigrabbitbear writes "Since its introduction, the Stop Online Piracy Act (and its Senate twin PROTECT-IP) has been staunchly condemned by countless engineers, technologists and lawyers intimately familiar with the inner functioning of the internet. Completely beside the fact that these bills, as they currently stand, would stifle free speech and potentially cripple legitimate businesses by giving corporations extrajudicial censorial powers, there's an even more insidious threat: the method of DNS filtering proposed to block supposed infringing sites opens up enormous security holes that threaten the stability of the internet itself. The problem: key members of the House Judiciary Committee still don't understand how the internet works, and worse yet, it's not clear whether they even want to."

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Android Update Alliance Already Struggling
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's actions-speak-louder-than-words department:
adeelarshad82 writes "Earlier this year many Android phone vendors and U.S. wireless carriers made a long-awaited promise, which was to push timely OS updates to all new Android phones. Seven months in and especially with the release of Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), PCMag decided to reach out to all those vendors and wireless carriers to see how things were coming along. Brace yourselves Android fans, you're not going to like the responses."

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The Future of Battle Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-wouldn't-bet-the-farm-on-lightsabers department:
PolygamousRanchKid tips a story about research into futuristic military technology currently being funded by DARPA. The Disc-Rotor Compound Helicopter 'is propelled by rotor blades that extend from a central disc, letting it take off and land like a helicopter. But those blades can also retract into the disc, minimizing drag and letting the Disc-Rotor fly like a plane, powered by engines beneath each wing.' The Vulture program aims to keep a plane in the sky for five years or more, and 'LANdroids' are pocket-sized robots which soldiers can scatter around urban areas to seed a communications network. FastRunner is a 'two-legged robot that can cover a moderately rough terrain as fast as the best human sprinters.' The article mentions the flying humvees we've discussed in the past, as well as projects for 'smart' binoculars and a method for recycling space junk.

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Coming Soon: Ubiquitous Long-Term Surveillance From Big Brother
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tinfoil-sales-skyrocket department:
alphadogg writes "As the price of digital storage drops and the technology to tap electronic communication improves, authoritarian governments will soon be able to perform retroactive surveillance on anyone within their borders, according to a Brookings Institute report. These regimes will store every phone call, instant message, email, social media interaction, text message, movements of people and vehicles and public surveillance video and mine it at their leisure, according to 'Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Government,' written by John Villaseno, a senior fellow at Brookings and a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA."

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Google Deal Allegedly Lets UMG Wipe YouTube Videos It Doesn't Own
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sounds-about-right department:
Sockatume writes "Ars Technica is reporting that Google has given music conglomerate UMG the right to arbitrarily eliminate YouTube videos. When UMG had Megaupload's 'Mega Song' removed from the site, it was assumed that they had made a DMCA claim, and that YouTube was responding under its 'safe harbor' obligations. Megaupload's legal response argues that UMG has no grounds to request a DMCA takedown. However in court filings (PDF), UMG claims that its licensing agreement with Google gives it the power and authority to unilaterally wipe videos from the site, bypassing the DMCA entirely. If true, that means that your activities on YouTube are not just curtailed by the law, but by the terms of their secret agreements with media conglomerates."

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US Watchdog Bans Photoshop Use In Cosmetics Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's or-as-some-people-call-it-lying department:
MrSeb writes "In an interesting move that should finally bring the United States' fast-and-loose advertising rules and regulations into line with the UK and EU, the National Advertising Division (NAD) — the advertising industry's self-regulating watchdog — has moved to ban the misleading use of photoshopping and enhanced post-production in cosmetics adverts. The ban stems from a Procter & Gamble (P&G) CoverGirl ad that photoshopped a model's eyelashes to exaggerate the effects of a mascara. There was a footnote in the ad's spiel about the photo being manipulated, but according to the director of the NAD, that simply isn't enough: 'You can't use a photograph to demonstrate how a cosmetic will look after it is applied to a woman's face and then — in the mice type — have a disclosure that says "okay, not really."' The NAD ruled that the ad was unacceptable, and P&G has since discontinued it. The ruling goes one step further, though, and points out that 'professional styling, make-up, photography and the product's inherent covering and smoothing nature' should be enough, without adding Photoshop to the mix. The cosmetics industry is obviously a good starting point — but what if the ban leaks over to product photography (I'm looking at you, Burger King), video gameplay demos, or a photographer's own works?"

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Judge Dismisses Twitter Stalking Case
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's avert-thine-eyes department:
itwbennett writes "Saying that Twitter and blogs are today's equivalent of a bulletin board that one is free to disregard (as compared to e-mails or phone calls directed to a victim), Maryland Judge Roger Titus on Thursday dismissed a criminal case against a person who was charged with stalking a religious leader on Twitter."

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Fukushima Finally Reaches Cold Shutdown
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's super-powers-no-longer-for-sale department:
mvdwege writes "The BBC reports that the reactors at Fukushima have reached cold shutdown, meaning they no longer need active cooling to stay at safe temperatures. Plans can now be made to start the cleanup of the site. Unfortunately, TEPCO has also admitted not all problems were out in the open until now; an estimated 45 cubic meters of contaminated water have leaked out of cracks in the foundation of a treatment plant."

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Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's in-memoriam department:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from the NY Times:
"Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the American-led war in Iraq, died Thursday at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was 62. He took pains to emphasize that he had not revised his position on atheism, articulated in his best-selling 2007 book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, although he did express amused appreciation at the hope, among some concerned Christians, that he might undergo a late-life conversion. Mr. Hitchens's latest collection of writings, Arguably: Essays, published this year, has been a best-seller and ranked among the top 10 books of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review."

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NIH Restricts Use of Chimpanzees in Labs
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-more-monkey-business department:
vikingpower writes "The U.S. National Institutes of Health on Thursday suspended all new grants for biomedical and behavioral research on chimpanzees and accepted the first uniform criteria for assessing the necessity of such research (full report here). Those guidelines require that the research be necessary for human health, and that there be no other way to accomplish it. A San Francisco Chronicle article points out why chimpanzees are so often used for medical research, as they are evolutionarily the closest to human beings. One may wonder if Europe and Asia are to follow the U.S.?"

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How HP and Open Source Can Save WebOS
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's save-the-day department:
snydeq writes "If HP wants a future for struggling WebOS, it must invest in the platform, not abandon it, writes Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister. 'It seems HP may only be truly committed to the platform if it can offload the cost of developing and maintaining it. Yet if that's what HP hopes to achieve by opening the WebOS source, it's bound to be disappointed.' Instead, HP should dedicate its own developer resources and 'release as much code as possible under an Apache, BSD, or similarly permissive license. Dual licensing under the GPL might leave HP with more opportunities to monetize the platform, but it won't garner as much interest from hardware makers, who are what WebOS needs most.'"

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Russian Scientist Discovers Giant Arctic Methane Plumes
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 03:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's warm-it-up department:
thomst writes "Russian scientist Igor Semiletov of the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks revealed in an interview with The Independent that his team discovered 'powerful and impressive seeping structures (of Methane gas) more than 1,000 metres in diameter' during their survey of the Arctic Ocean earlier this year. 'I was most impressed by the sheer scale and the high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them,' Semiletov told The Independent's Steve Connor. This finding is important because methane is estimated to be 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and it could indicate that global warming is about to accelerate dramatically."

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Challenges of Setting Up a Security Conference
Posted by News Fetcher on December 16 '11 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's herding-cats department:
Orome1 writes "The founder of the SecurityByte conference talks about his motivations for organizing such an event in his native country and what he hopes it will achieve. He shares knowledge regarding the differences between the organization processes involved when setting up this type of event in India as opposed to North America, which he says have a lot to do with the fact that there is lack of awareness about security in India, and that the majority of such events held there are mostly vendor-driven and free for visitors."

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