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'Instant Cosmic Classic' Supernova Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '11 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's transfixed-by-distant-lights department:
chill sends this quote from a news release by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:
"A supernova discovered yesterday is closer to Earth — approximately 21 million light-years away—than any other of its kind in a generation. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova within hours of its explosion, a rare feat made possible with a specialized survey telescope and state-of-the-art computational tools. 'We caught this supernova very soon after explosion. PTF 11kly is getting brighter by the minute. It’s already 20 times brighter than it was yesterday,' said Peter Nugent, the senior scientist at Berkeley Lab who first spotted the supernova. ... the supernova is still getting brighter, and might even be visible with good binoculars in ten days’ time, appearing brighter than any other supernova of its type in the last 30 years."

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The EFF Reflects On ICE Seizing a Tor Exit Node
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '11 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-dumb-things-happen department:
An anonymous reader writes "Marcia Hofmann, senior staff attorney at the EFF, gives more information on the first known seizure of equipment in the U.S. due to a warrant executed against a private individual running a Tor exit node. 'This spring, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed a search warrant at the home of Nolan King and seized six computer hard drives in connection with a criminal investigation. The warrant was issued on the basis of an Internet Protocol (IP) address that traced back to an account connected to Mr. King's home, where he was operating a Tor exit relay.' The EFF was able to get Mr King's equipment returned, and Marcia points out that 'While we think it's important to let the public know about this unfortunate event, it doesn't change our belief that running a Tor exit relay is legal.' She also links to the EFF's Tor Legal FAQ. This brings up an interesting dichotomy in my mind, concerning protecting yourself from the Big digital Brother: Running an open Wi-Fi hotspot, or Tor exit node, would make you both more likely to be investigated, and less likely to be convicted, of any cyber crimes."

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Social Media a Threat To Undercover Cops
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '11 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's which-might-in-some-cases-be-a-good-outcome department:
angry tapir writes "Facebook has proven to be one of the biggest dangers in keeping undercover police officers safe, due to applications such as facial recognition and photo tagging, according to a adjunct professor at ANU and Charles Sturt University. Mick Keelty, a former Australian Federal Police commissioner, told the audience at Security 2011 in Sydney that because of the convergence of a number of technologies undercover policing may be 'impossible' in the future."

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RealNetworks Sues Dutch Webmaster Over Hyperlink To Freeware
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's verhuur-zoekend-gedrag department:
An anonymous reader writes "In the ever lasting contest for the most idiotic lawsuit, RealNetworks has sued a Dutch man for posting a link to a competing freeware program that allegedly infringes on RealNetworks' intellectual property. The company also secretly obtained a court order that resulted in confiscation of all computers belonging to the man and his family. The 26-year-old has already incurred over €66,000 in legal fees and if he looses the case, he's facing €210,000 in fines. Where are the Anonymous when you need them?"

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The Press Reacts To Steve Jobs' Departure — in 1985
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 07:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's didn't-know-what-they-were-missing department:
harrymcc writes "After reading a ton of stories about Steve Jobs' decision to step down as Apple's CEO, I turned the clock back and read a bunch about the first time he did so — unwillingly — in 1985. Some observers thought his departure would have little impact on Apple; others seemed to believe it was a great idea. And the Washington Post's T.R. Reid figured out that an Apple that chose to eject Jobs would be a profoundly lesser place."

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Acer CEO Declares a Tablets Bubble
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 04:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that-seems-hard-to-believe department:
retroworks writes "According to a story in Digitimes, Acer chairman JT Wang is predicting the end of 'tablet fever.' 'Commenting on tablet PC's impact on the notebook industry, [Acer chairman JT Wang] pointed out that tablet PC fever is already starting to cool down and consumers are also being attracted by notebooks again with Intel's Ultrabooks and Microsoft's Windows 8 the major attractions.' Back to the old model then... PC and laptop sales, driven by Windows upgrades?"

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MIT Researchers Defend Against Wireless Attacks
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 03:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-kill-anyone-in-any-sort-of-middle department:
alphadogg writes "MIT researchers have devised a protocol to flummox man-in-the-middle attacks against wireless networks. The all-software solution lets wireless radios automatically pair without the use of passwords and without relying on out-of-band techniques such as infrared or video channels. Dubbed Tamper-evident pairing, or TEP, the technique is based on understanding how man-in-the-middle attacks tamper with wireless messages, and then detects and in some cases blocks the tampering. The researchers suggest that TEP could have detected the reported but still unconfirmed cellular man-in-the-middle attack that unfolded at the Defcon conference earlier this month in Las Vegas."

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Aaron Seigo On KDE SC 5.0 — and What Getting There Means
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 02:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's slow-and-steady department:
An anonymous reader writes "After years of focusing on further improving KDE4 two weeks ago the developers of the free desktop announced the next big step for their project: KDE Frameworks 5.0. But as long-time developer — and Plasma team leader — Aaron Seigo points out in an interview with derStandard.at/web, the source-incompatible changes shall be held to a minimum. Also calls Frameworks 5.0 only the 'first step,' new Applications and Workspace releases are to follow later, Seigo goes on to talk about the chances in the mobile market with Plasma Active and further areas of collaboration with the other big free desktop: GNOME."

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Cybercrime Treaty Pushes Surveillance Worldwide
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 02:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's man-v-state department:
bs0d3 writes "As part of an emerging international trend to try to 'civilize the Internet', one of the world's worst Internet law treaties — the highly controversial Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Cybercrime — is back on the agenda. Canada and Australia are using the Treaty to introduce new invasive, online surveillance laws, many of which go far beyond the Convention's intended levels of intrusiveness. Negotiated over a decade ago, only 31 of its 47 signatories have ratified it. Many considered the Treaty to be dormant but in recent years a number of countries have been modeling national laws based on the flawed Treaty. Leaving out constitutional safeguards, gag orders in place of oversight, and forcing service providers to retain your data may all be coming soon."

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Scientific Linux's Troy Dawson Leaves FermiLabs For Red Hat
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 01:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's long-way-around department:
First time accepted submitter EponymousCustard writes "On a day of big resignations, we also hear that Troy Dawson of the Scientific Linux project is joining Red Hat, and will no longer be working on Scientific Linux. It will be a big loss. thanks to Troy for all the great work!"

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Massive Diamond Found Orbiting Pulsar
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's think-of-the-street-value-of-this-mountain department:
HairyNevus writes "A recent survey of pulsars has revealed a fascinating discovery of a millisecond pulsar in system PSR J17191438 that has stripped a nearby white dwarf star down to its very core. Although no longer visible, is still has the mass of Jupiter. The remaining core rotates its neutron star companion with a period of just under 2 hours, indicating extremely close proximity. Given this distance, scientists have calculated that the substance of the core must be very compact, and, without building up the point, they conclude it is made of diamond. One thing I found misleading about the article is that it refers to the core as having 'the size of Jupiter' and 'the mass of Jupiter.' Given their different densities (diamond vs. mostly helium), it would seem clear that their size (i.e. volume) differs."

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Do You Want Best Buy Opening Your New Laptop?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-you-do-not department:
An anonymous reader writes "I went to Best Buy the other day to get a new laptop for a client. I didn't realize till I got it home that they had broken the seal and opened the box. They put a sticker on the box that said, 'Inspected by Best Buy.' I found they had created the user profile, recovery disks, and installed a trial of Trend Antivirus. Seems to me this is more of a marketing agenda than inspection."

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Twitter Turns On SSL Encryption For Some Users
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 12:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's 140-chars-of-nothin'-there department:
JohnBert writes with this news from ComputerWorld, which reports that "Twitter is slowly turning on automatic encryption on its website, a move following other major providers of web-based services to thwart account hijacking over wireless networks. Twitter has offered an option for users to turn on SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption, but said on Tuesday that it will turn the feature on by default for some users. It did not indicate when the option would be turned on by default for all users."

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Imaging the Molecular Orbitals of Pentacene
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's didn't-keats-write-an-ode-about-that? department:
eparker05 writes "Researchers at University of Liverpool have used a scanning tunneling microscope to image the aromatic molecule pentacene (Abstract). Not unexpectedly, the resulting images showed an astonishingly close correlation to the theoretically predicted molecular orbitals. This incredible set of images reminds me of the group that imaged a single carbon atom in 2009."

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Hurricane Irene Threatens US Northeast; Cover Your Assets
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-she's-always-theatening-people department:
jfruhlinger writes "Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the heavily populated U.S. Northeast Corridor. If you work in IT, you know that there are few things that are worse for electronics than water; so, what's your plan? Tom Henderson has come up with a checklist, which sensibly includes backing everything up, twice; not that you have time for it now, but for future reference you might want to consider just moving your whole data center to a location that's been conveniently pre-hardened, like a water tower or a boiler room." Note that Irene has been no joke in the Caribbean; in Puerto Rico (with relatively modern infrastructure), about a third of the island lost power.

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So Long, CmdrTaco, and Thanks For All The Posts
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 10:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's gonna-let-you-finish-but department:
With CmdrTaco moving on to his temporary retirement home, the Slashdot editors who will continue to poke and prod at reader submissions (the heart and soul of this site: without readers, there'd be nothing to talk about as well as no one to talk about it) would like to offer an extended 'Thank You' to Rob, and offer some thoughts on the years so far, as well as what comes next. (Of late, though, we're lucky to have the growing contributions of Clinton Ebadi, aka Unknown Lamer, who got an oddball start on the Slashdot page a long time back.) Read on for a few words from Samzenpus, timothy, and Soulskill.

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Kickstarter-Like Service For Charities?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sounds-like-a-business-plan department:
First time accepted submitter chefmayhem writes "I'm one of a number of volunteer alumni trying to revive a high school summer science enrichment program, PGSS, cut unceremoniously by Pennsylvania in 2009 due to budget issues. Our alumni association has become a 501(c)3 non-profit and we're raising money through donations (over $100K from over 300 donors so far) to try to fund the program in 2012. The idea is that running the program this summer will give us momentum, and something to show off to potential corporate, philanthropic, and other funding sources. Trouble is, some potential donors are concerned that we won't raise enough to run the program this coming summer, and are hesitant to donate, even though the money will (one way or another) go to science education, even if we can't restore the program. Is there a web-based fundraising service, like kickstarter.com, but for charities, which will take pledges (and deal with credit card info, etc) but only charge donors if the goal is reached? It would also be important that non-donor sources (like some support from the state) can also count towards our fundraising goals. This could be a powerful tool for us, as well as other non-profits looking to make a dream come true."

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Michael Mann Vindicated (Again) Over Climategate
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's arguments-that-cannot-be-won department:
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University, was one of the central figures involved in the 'Climategate' controversy, which saw many private email conversations between researchers posted publicly. Now, an investigation (PDF) by the National Science Foundation has found "no basis to conclude that the emails were evidence of research misconduct or that they pointed to such evidence." Phil Plait points out that other investigations have found similarly that claims of Mann's misconduct took his statements out of context. 'A big claim by the deniers is that researchers were using "tricks" to falsify conclusions about global warming, but the NSF report is pretty clear that's not true. The most damning thing the investigators could muster was that there was "some concern" over the statistical methods used, but that's not scandalous at all; there's always some argument in science over methodology. The vague language of the report there indicates to me this isn't a big deal, or else they would've been specific. The big point is that the data were not faked.'"

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Linus' First Linux Post, 20 Years Ago Today
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's know-the-score department:
jrepin writes "One midsummer's night, a student at the University of Helsinki posted a query to the newsgroup comp.os.minix asking, 'What would you like to see most in minix?' The student's name was Linus Torvalds, and that Usenet post was the beginning of the Linux operating system. The date was 25 August 1991, exactly 20 years ago today. In 1991 Unix had existed for about 20 years, Apple had come out with its Mac OS in 1984, and Microsoft had been flogging Windows since 1985. Torvalds' ambitions for his 'new (free) operating system' were modest. It was to be 'just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu' for IBM PC '386(486) AT clones.' He wanted to call his OS kernel 'Freax,' but a friend who ran the FTP server that hosted the software named Torvalds' source code download directory 'linux' and the name stuck."

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SEC Hit With Data Destruction Complaint
Posted by News Fetcher on August 25 '11 at 07:32 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stop-playing-plinko-with-your-backup-tapes department:
DMandPenfold writes "The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US financial regulator, has been accused of destroying thousands of data files on high profile inquiries including an early-stage investigation into convicted Ponzi scheme fraudster Bernard Madoff. The allegations, raised by former SEC employee Darcy Flynn, have prompted the US Senate Judiciary Committee to write to SEC chairwoman Mary Schapiro to demand an immediate explanation. The SEC exists to set a tough example on corporate governance, and it fines banks heavily for both lax practice and deliberate malpractice. Questions over any involvement it may have in sensitive document destruction are not likely to sit comfortably with some in the industry. The SEC insists it has kept records in accordance with the law on its computer system"

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