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Ears Might Be Better Than Fingerprints For ID
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-can't-pinnae-that-on-me deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A new study says that outer ear could be better unique identification mark in human beings than finger prints. 'When you're born your ear is fully formed. The lobe descends a little, but overall it stays the same. It's a great way to identify people,' said Mark Nixon, a computer scientist at the University of Southampton and leader of the research. Nixon and his team presented a paper at the IEEE Fourth International Conference on Biometrics and using an algorithm identified people with 99.6 per cent accuracy." An anonymous reader adds a link to Wired's story on the same conference presentation, which adds this skeptical note: "'I have seen no scientific proof that the ear doesn’t change significantly over time. People tend to believe notions like these, and they are repeated over time,' said Anil Jain, a computer scientist at Michigan State University who was not involved in the study. 'Fingerprinting has a history of 100 years showing that it works, unless you destroy your fingerprints or work in an industry that gives you calluses.'"

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NSA Adds Kahn Collection To Cryptologic Museum
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's classic-in-the-field deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Baltimore Sun reports that as recently as the late 1960s, the very existence of the National Security Agency was a closely held secret until a New York newspaper reporter named David Kahn published The Codebreakers, a 1,200-page blockbuster that would establish Kahn as the world's leading expert on the history of cryptology, the art and science of making and breaking codes. 'According to my editor, the NSA director flew up to New York to say it would be dangerous to national security, and unpatriotic, to publish it,' says Kahn. Fast forward 43 years and now the NSA has announced it has added the David Kahn Collection to the library of its public anteroom, the National Cryptologic Museum — complete with more than 130,000 pages of original interview notes and 2,800 books. 'For those who care about cryptology — what it is, how it works, where it fits into world history and culture — at some point, [they'd] want to look at the Kahn collection,' says curator Patrick Weadon. 'It's an eclectic cornucopia of all things cryptological.'"

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GE To Buy 25,000 EVs, Starting With the Chevy Volt
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's private-sector-bailout deptartment:
DeviceGuru writes "In what claimed as the largest-ever single electric vehicle commitment, GE plans to acquire 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015. The buying spree will initially involve 12,000 GM vehicles, beginning with GM's Chevy Volt in 2011. By converting most of its own 30,000-strong global fleet, and promoting EV adoption among its 65,000 global fleet customers, GE hopes to be in a strong position to help deploy the vehicles' supporting infrastructure, including charging stations, circuit protection equipment, and transformers. In contrast to the all-electric Nissan Leaf, the Volt implements a small gas engine, which can recharge the vehicle's battery to extend its range beyond the 100 mile limit of all-electric cars like the Leaf, leading some to question the Volt's EV credentials."

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Vint Cerf Calls For IPv6 Incentives In UK
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's there-would-be-this-thing-called-a-market deptartment:
sweetpea23 writes "Vint Cerf, the 'godfather' of the web and Internet evangelist for Google, has highlighted the need for cash incentives to encourage ISPs and businesses in the UK to move to version six of the IP addressing scheme (IPv6). In response to the UK government's stance that its role in the transition will primarily be advisory, Cerf suggested a system of tax credits for upgrading equipment to v6 capability — similar to the 'cash for clunkers' scheme in the US. 'You'd have to do the math to see what impact it would have, but creating some business incentive might be helpful,' he said. His words echo those of Axel Pawlik, managing director of the RIPE NCC, who warned last month that that the IT industry is adding unnecessary risk and complexity to Internet architectures by ignoring the availability of IPv6 addresses. the Internet authority IANA is expected to assign its last batch of IPv4 addresses in June 2011."

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Vint Cerf Calls For IPv6 Incentives In UK
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's there-would-be-this-thing-called-a-market deptartment:
sweetpea23 writes "Vint Cerf, the 'godfather' of the web and Internet evangelist for Google, has highlighted the need for cash incentives to encourage ISPs and businesses in the UK to move to version six of the IP addressing scheme (IPv6). In response to the UK government's stance that its role in the transition will primarily be advisory, Cerf suggested a system of tax credits for upgrading equipment to v6 capability — similar to the 'cash for clunkers' scheme in the US. 'You'd have to do the math to see what impact it would have, but creating some business incentive might be helpful,' he said. His words echo those of Axel Pawlik, managing director of the RIPE NCC, who warned last month that that the IT industry is adding unnecessary risk and complexity to Internet architectures by ignoring the availability of IPv6 addresses. the Internet authority IANA is expected to assign its last batch of IPv4 addresses in June 2011."

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National Opt-Out Day Against Virtual Strip Searches
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 05:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's hobson's-choice deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes in about a protest called for the busiest airline travel day of the year. "An activist opposed to the new invasive body scanners in use at airports around the country just designated Wednesday, Nov. 24 as a National Opt-Out Day. He's encouraging airline passengers to decline the TSA's technological strip searches en masse on that day as a protest against the scanners, as well as the new 'enhanced pat-downs' inflicted on refuseniks. 'The goal of National Opt-Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change,' reads the call to action at OptOutDay.com, set up by Brian Sodegren. 'No naked body scanners, no government-approved groping. We have a right to privacy, and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we're guilty until proven innocent.' The US Airline Pilots Association and other pilot groups have urged their members to avoid the scanners and have also condemned the new pat-down policy as humiliating to pilots. They've advised pilots who don't feel comfortable undergoing pat-downs in front of passengers to request they be conducted in a private room. Any pilots who don't feel comfortable after undergoing a pat-down have been encouraged to 'call in sick and remove themselves from the trip.'"

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The Ascendancy of .co
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 02:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's milking-the-cash-cow deptartment:
An anonymous reader tipped the fact that, with the .com namespace getting pretty well mined out, GoDaddy.com's front page for domain registrations now defaults to .co instead of .com. The article claims that GoDaddy registers about half of new domain names. Neither the article nor GoDaddy makes it explicit that .co is a ccTLD belonging to Colombia, or that registering one costs about three times as much as a .com, at $29.99 per year. And if you select a .co domain name from GoDaddy's front page, a number of TLD variants are presented alongside .co — but .com is not among them.

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Auto Industry's Fastest Processor Is 128Mhz
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 11:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's hot-in-here-or-is-it-me deptartment:
afabbro writes "GM stated that the 2011 Buick Regal will have the auto industry's fastest processor: 128Mhz, and 3MB of flash. 'Three meg of flash memory and 128MHz clock speed doesn't sound like a lot in terms of computing power until you consider the environment these controllers have to live in. Our controllers are made to operate reliably up to 260 degrees (127C) and down to -40 degrees (-40C) for the life of the vehicle.'"

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Android Holes Allow Secret Installation of Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 08:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's be-glad-he's-on-your-side deptartment:
CheerfulMacFanboy writes with a link to Heise Online which says "'Security researchers have demonstrated two vulnerabilities that allow attackers to install apps on Android and its vendor-specific implementations without a user's permission. During normal installation, users are at least asked to confirm whether an application is to have certain access rights. Bypassing this confirmation request reportedly allows spyware or even diallers to be installed on a smartphone.' One vulnerability was identified when a security specialist analysed HTC devices and found that the integrated web browser has the right to install further packages (used to automatically update its Flash Lite plug-in). Attackers can exploit this if they have found another browser hole. 'Android specialist Jon Oberheide demonstrated another hole which involved misusing the Account Manager to generate an authentication token for the Android Market and obtaining permission to install further apps from there. However, this initially requires a specially crafted app to be installed on the smartphone. Nothing could be easier: Oberheide released the allegedly harmless "Angry Birds Bonus Levels" app into the Android Market and, upon installation, this app downloaded and installed three further apps ("Fake Toll Fraud," "Fake Contact Stealer," and "Fake Location Tracker") without requesting the user's permission.'"

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Tide of International Science Moving Against US, EU
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 05:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's old-guard-passing deptartment:
explosivejared writes "The Economist has a story on the increasing scientific productivity of countries like China, India, and Brazil relative to the field's old guards in America, Europe, and Japan. Scientific productivity in this sense includes percent of GDP spent on R&D and the overall numbers of researchers, scholarly articles, and patents that a country produces. The article notes increasing levels of international collaboration on scholarly scientific articles in leading journals. From the article: '[M]ore than 35% of articles in leading journals are now the product of international collaboration. That is up from 25% 15 years ago — something the old regime and the new alike can celebrate.'" Note that the "old guard" are still firmly in the lead on these measures of scientific prowess, but the growth rate is higher in the newcomer states.

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Which Language To Learn?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 03:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's future-proofing-the-skillset deptartment:
LordStormes writes "I've been a Java/C++/PHP developer for about 6 years now. However, I'm seeing the jobs for these languages dry up, and Java in particular is worrisome with all the Oracle nonsense going on. I think it's time to pick up a new language or risk my skills fading into uselessness. I'm looking to do mostly Web-based back-end stuff. I've contemplated Perl, Python, Ruby, Erlang, Go, and several other languages, but I'll put it to you — what language makes the most sense now to get the jobs? I've deliberately omitted .NET — I have no desire to do the Microsoft languages."

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Edward Tufte's Library Up For Auction
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 02:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's galileo-meets-picasso deptartment:
px2 writes "I was poking around Christie's auction house after taking a look at the Apple 1 when I came across this: Beautiful Evidence: The Library of Edward Tufte. He's unloading everything from Galileo and Da Vinci firsts to a rotating Japanese astronomical text from 1801. I guess he didn't conjure his ideas on information design from thin air." Based on Christie's estimates, the collection of 29 artifacts could fetch in excess of two and a quarter million dollars.

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The Monopolies That Dominate the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 01:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's meet-the-new-boss deptartment:
Tim Wu has a piece up at the Wall Street Journal pointing out that the free-market, open Internet — "competition in its purest form" — has evolved to be dominated by monopolies. Wu argues that this is nothing new, and that each wave of information technology in the US has followed a similar pattern. "Today's Internet borders will probably change eventually, especially as new markets appear. But it's hard to avoid the conclusion that we are living in an age of large information monopolies. Could it be that the free market on the Internet actually tends toward monopolies? Could it even be that demand, of all things, is actually winnowing the online free market — that Americans, so diverse and individualistic, actually love these monopolies? ... Info-monopolies tend to be good-to-great in the short term and bad-to-terrible in the long term."

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Researchers Take Down Koobface Servers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 12:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's pennies-at-a-time deptartment:
splitenz notes the first actions in the war against the Koobface botnet, taken on the heels of a comprehensive report (PDF) on the operations of the botnet and the criminal gang behind it. The researchers who analyzed Koobface are the same ones who brought Ghostnet to light. "Security researchers, working with law enforcement and Internet service providers, have disrupted the brains of the Koobface botnet.The computer identified as the command-and-control server used to send instructions to infected Koobface machines was offline late Friday (US Pacific time). Criminals behind the botnet made more than $US2 million in one year. Facebook accounts are used to lure victims to Google Blogspot pages, which in turn redirect them to Web servers that contain the malicious Koobface code. This action is only a stage in the war against Koobface."

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Fedora Project Drops SQLNinja 'Hacker' Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 11:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's dual-use deptartment:
simonb writes, "In what can only be described as a fit of insanity, the Fedora Board have declared a 'hacker tool' not fit for entry into their software repositories. Today your SQL injection tools, tomorrow your nmap?" The Register links the Fedora board's meeting minutes. From the story: "The move came on Monday in a unanimous vote by the Fedora Project's board of directors rejecting a request that SQLNinja be added to the archive of open-source applications. It came even as a long list of other hacker tools are included in the bundle and was harshly criticized by some security watchers. 'It seems incredibly short sighted to reject software based on perceived legal usage,' said Jacob Appelbaum, a full-time programmer for the Tor Project. 'They have decided to become judges of likely usage based on their own experience. That is a path of madness.' ... [T]he board unanimously decided to add a new statement to Fedora's legal guidelines concerning the inclusion of hacking tools. ... Smith said the language is intended to clarify its stance on a class of software that can be used both to secure and penetrate protected networks."

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Fedora Project Drops SQLNinja 'Hacker' Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 11:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's dual-use deptartment:
simonb writes, "In what can only be described as a fit of insanity, the Fedora Board have declared a 'hacker tool' not fit for entry into their software repositories. Today your SQL injection tools, tomorrow your nmap?" The Register links the Fedora board's meeting minutes. From the story: "The move came on Monday in a unanimous vote by the Fedora Project's board of directors rejecting a request that SQLNinja be added to the archive of open-source applications. It came even as a long list of other hacker tools are included in the bundle and was harshly criticized by some security watchers. 'It seems incredibly short sighted to reject software based on perceived legal usage,' said Jacob Appelbaum, a full-time programmer for the Tor Project. 'They have decided to become judges of likely usage based on their own experience. That is a path of madness.' ... [T]he board unanimously decided to add a new statement to Fedora's legal guidelines concerning the inclusion of hacking tools. ... Smith said the language is intended to clarify its stance on a class of software that can be used both to secure and penetrate protected networks."

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Saudi Arabia Bans Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 10:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's graven-images deptartment:
gandhi_2 sends in a brief Associated Press piece on Saudi Arabia's blocking of Facebook. "An official with Saudi Arabia's communications authority says it has blocked Facebook because the popular social networking website doesn't conform with the kingdom's conservative values. ... He says Facebook's content had 'crossed a line' with the kingdom's conservative morals, but that blocking the site is a temporary measure." Some reports indicate that at least some individual Facebook pages can be reached from inside the kingdom. There hasn't been an official announcement; the source noted above requested anonymity. Earlier this year when Pakistan and Bangladesh banned Facebook, it was over particular content — cartoons of Mohammed — and the Saudi ban may prove similar once more details emerge.

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Replacing Sports Bloggers With an Algorithm
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 09:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's something-about-overlords deptartment:
tesmar tips a report up at TechCrunch that begins "Here come the robo sports journalists. While people in the media biz worry about content mills like Demand Media and Associated Content spitting out endless SEO-targeted articles written by low-paid Internet writers, at least those articles are still written by humans. We may no longer need the humans, at least for data-driven stories. A startup in North Carolina, StatSheet, today is launching a remarkable network of 345 sports sites, one dedicated to each Division 1 college basketball tam in the US. For instance, there is a site for the Michigan State Spartans, North Carolina Tar Heels, and Ohio Buckeyes. Every story on each site was written by a robot, or to put it more precisely, by StatSheet's content algorithms. 'The posts are completely auto-generated,' says founder Robbie Allen. 'The only human involvement is with creating the algorithms that generate the posts.'"

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Kernel Tracing With LTTng On Ubuntu Maverick
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 07:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's truth-of-kernel deptartment:
francis-giraldeau writes "Linux Tracing Toolkit (LTTng) provides high-performance kernel tracing for Linux. This is the killer app for system level debugging and performance tuning. It's now easier than ever to install, with packages released for Ubuntu Maverick. The short introduction to kernel tracing shows how to interpret a simple kernel trace and relate it to strace. I would like to ask Slashdot readers what they would expect as features for a kernel tracing analysis tool, because I'm starting my PhD on this topic and looking for ideas. Also, I wonder why LTTng is not mainline yet. Will Linus Torvalds see the light in 2011?"

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The Great Cyberheist
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 07:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's meelions-and-meelions deptartment:
theodp writes "In this week's cover story, the NY Times Magazine delves into the mind of Albert Gonzalez, the hacker who is currently doing time (the longest sentence ever handed down for computer crime in the US) for masterminding attacks on the nation's leading retailers, reportedly costing TJ Maxx, Heartland, and other victimized companies more than $400 million. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg. 'The majority of the stuff I hacked was never brought into public light,' said one of Gonzalez's partners-in-crime. Another claims there 'were major chains and big hacks that would dwarf TJX. I'm just waiting for them to indict us for the rest of them.' Online fraud is still rampant in the U.S., but statistics show a major drop in 2009 from previous years when Gonzalez was active. While reportedly not a gifted programmer, even the Feds that Gonzalez two-timed admired his ingenuity, likening him to top CEOs. When asked how Gonzalez rated among criminal hackers, a prosecutor replied: 'As a leader? Unparalleled. Unparalleled in his ability to coordinate contacts and continents and expertise. Unparalleled in that he didn't just get a hack done — he got a hack done, he got the exfiltration of the data done, he got the laundering of the funds done. He was a five-tool player.' Accounting for time served and good behavior, Gonzalez is expected to get out of prison in 2025." Last June Rolling Stone ran a long profile of Albert Gonzalez written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely; they have dusted it off now that producer Eric Eisner has embarked on the development of a feature film based on Erdely's piece.

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