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Climatic Research Unit Hacked, Files Leaked
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 12:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's playing-dirty deptartment:
huckamania was one of many readers to write with the news that the University of East Anglia's Hadley Climatic Research Unit was hacked, and internal documents released. Some discussion and analysis of the leaked items can be found at Watts Up With That. The CRU has confirmed that a breach occurred, but not that all 61 MB of released material is genuine. Some of the emails would seem to raise concerns about the science as practiced — or at least beg an explanation. From the Watts Up link: "[The CRU] widely recognized as one of the world's leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change. Consisting of a staff of around thirty research scientists and students, the Unit has developed a number of the data sets widely used in climate research, including the global temperature record used to monitor the state of the climate system, as well as statistical software packages and climate models. An unknown person put postings on some climate skeptic websites that advertised an FTP file on a Russian FTP server. Here is the message that was placed on the Air Vent today: 'We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps. We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents' The file was large, about 61 megabytes, containing hundreds of files. It contained data, code, and emails apparently from the CRU. If proved legitimate, these bombshells could spell trouble for the AGW crowd." Reader brandaman supplied the link to the archive of pilfered data. Reader aretae characterized the emails as revealing "...lots of intrigue, data manipulation, attempting to shut out opposing points of view out of scientific journals. Almost makes you think it's a religion. Anyone surprised?" And reader bugnuts adds, for context: "These emails are certainly taken out of context, whether they are legitimate or fraudulent, which adds to the confusion."

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Aging Nuclear Stockpile Good For Decades To Come
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 11:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's still-go-boom deptartment:
pickens writes "The NY Times reports that the Jason panel, an independent group of scientists advising the federal government on issues of science and technology, has concluded that the a program to refurbish aging nuclear arms is sufficient to guarantee their destructiveness for decades to come, obviating a need for a costly new generation of more reliable warheads, as proposed by former President Bush. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and other Republicans have argued that concerns are growing over the reliability of the US's aging nuclear stockpile, and that the possible need for new designs means that the nation should retain the right to conduct underground tests of new nuclear weapons. The existing warheads were originally designed for relatively short lifetimes and frequent replacement with better models, but such modernization ended after the US quit testing nuclear arms in 1992. All weapons that remain in the arsenal must now undergo a refurbishment process, known as life extension. The Jason panel found no evidence that the accumulated changes from aging and refurbishment posed any threat to weapon destructiveness, and that the 'lifetimes of today's nuclear warheads could be extended for decades, with no anticipated loss of confidence.' But the panel added that federal indifference could undermine the nuclear refurbishment program (as this report from last May illustrates). Quoting the report (PDF): 'The study team is concerned that this expertise is threatened by lack of program stability, perceived lack of mission importance and degradation of the work environment.'"

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Netbooks Have Higher Failure Rate Than Laptops
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 11:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's get-what-you-pay-for-sometimes deptartment:
Barence writes "Netbooks are more likely to fail within the first year than their more expensive laptop brethren, according to new research. SquareTrade, an independent US warranty provider, analyzed the failure rates of more than 30,000 laptops covered by its own warranties. It found that 5.8% of netbooks malfunctioned within the first year, compared to 4.7% for regular laptops and 4.2% for premium laptops costing more than $1,000. The research also raises question marks over the legendary reliability of Macs. Three PC manufacturers — Asus, Toshiba, and Sony — boasted better reliability rates than Apple. Macs have a 17.4% malfunction rate over three years, compared to market-leader Asus, which has a 15.6% failure rate. HP was the worst of the nine PC vendors listed, with a malfunction rate of 25.6% over three years."

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Xbox Live Class Action Being Investigated
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 10:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's modders-unite deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Were you negatively affected by the recent ban on Xbox Live for modifying hardware you own? Did you modify yours for homebrew or altering things you paid for and not to engage in piracy? Abington IP would like to hear from you and may be able to help. From that page: 'If you are an Xbox Live subscriber, had your modified Xbox console banned from Xbox Live, were not refunded a prorated sum for the time left on your subscription, or have experienced other problems as a result of being banned, and would like to participate in a class action against Microsoft, please submit your information below.' Someone is finally standing up for the legitimate hobbyists. Should Microsoft worry?"

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Patent Issued For Podcasting
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 09:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's next-a-patent-on-the-eardrum deptartment:
pickens writes "The EFF is reaching out for help after a company called Volomedia got the Patent Office to grant them exclusive rights to 'a method for providing episodic media' that could threaten the community of podcasters and millions of podcast listeners. 'It's a ridiculously broad patent, covering something that many folks have been doing for many years,' writes Rebecca Jeschke. 'Worse, it could create a whole new layer of ongoing costs for podcasters and their listeners.' To bust this patent, EFF is looking for additional 'prior art' — evidence that the podcasting methods described in the patent were already in use (PDF) before November 19, 2003. 'In particular, we're looking for written descriptions of methods that allow a user to download pre-programmed episodic media like audio files or video files from a remote publisher, with the download occurring after the user subscribes to the episodes, and with the user continuing to automatically receive new episodes.'"

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Linus Torvalds For Nobel Peace Prize?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 09:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's nice-step-towards-world-domination deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "I'm as much of a Linux fanboy as anyone else, but I've never thought of anything in computing as being worth a Nobel Peace Prize. Apparently, there are those who take global collaboration seriously, though..." The suggestion has been bouncing around the Portland Linux community, where Torvalds lives. Is it worthy of wider attention and discussion?

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Response To California's Large-Screen TV Regulation
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 08:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's i-want-my-i-want-my deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It's great that unelected bureaucrats in California are clamoring to save energy, but when they target your big-screen TVs for elimination, consumers and manufacturers are apt to declare war. CEDIA and the CEA are up in arms over this. Audioholics has an interesting response that involves setting the TVs in 'SCAM' mode to meet the energy criteria technically without having to add additional cost or increase costs to consumers. 'In this mode, the display brightness/contrast settings would be set a few clicks to the right of zero, audio would be disabled and backlighting would be set to minimum. The power consumption should be measured in this mode much like an A/V receiver power consumption is measured with one channel driven at full rated power and the other channels at 1/8th power.' This is an example of an impending train wreck of unintended consequences, and many are grabbing the popcorn and pulling up chairs to watch."

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Zero-Day Vulnerabilities In Firefox Extensions
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 07:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's wild-in-the-playground deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have found several security holes in popular Firefox extensions that have an estimated total of 30 million downloads from AMO (the Addons Mozilla community site). Three 0-days were also released. Mozilla doesn't have a security model for extensions and Firefox fully trusts the code of the extensions. There are no security boundaries between extensions and, to make things even worse, an extension can silently modify another extension." The affected extensions are Sage version 1.4.3, InfoRSS 1.1.4.2, and Yoono 6.1.1 (and earlier versions). Clearly the problem is larger than just these three extensions.

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SecondLife To Remove Free Content From Web Search
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 07:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's all-for-monetizing deptartment:
Outland Traveller writes "In a move that continues to shake the SecondLife community of content creators, merchants, and consumers, Linden Labs has declared that free virtual content will no longer be searchable without listing payments on their website portal; and additional fees will be added with the intention of discouraging content listed for inexpensive selling prices. The move is particularly troubling because the online Web listing service is the de facto search engine for virtual content in Second Life, since the in-world search tools are unable to provide information about an object beyond name and location — basic textual descriptions, pictures, or descriptions of licensing, size, or content-category are not possible. While initially the change was explained as a response to community feedback, the residents involved in this feedback process were revealed to be fewer than 100 in number, primarily larger merchants among a community of millions. Within 24 hours of the announcement the feedback thread has swelled to over 1,000 overwhelmingly negative responses. Additionally, in-world protests have erupted throughout the day, and over 20,000 objects have been voluntarily removed from the online store by angered merchants." Read on for more details on the brouhaha.

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Fedora 12 Package Installation Policy Tightened
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 06:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's tougher-by-default deptartment:
AdamWill writes "After the controversy over Fedora 12's controversial package installation authentication policy, including our discussion this week, the package maintainers have agreed that the controversial policy will be tightened to require root authentication for trusted package installation. Please see the official announcement and the development mailing list post for more details."

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Federal Judge Says Corps of Engineers Liable For Katrina Damage
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's too-bad-a-judge-didn't-do-the-engineering deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that a federal judge has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers — and thus the US government — is liable for a big chunk of the damage caused when hurricane Katrina pushed ashore on August 29, 2005 by failing to stop the natural widening of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet canal (aka Mr. Go) causing it to eventually bump up against the shore of Lake Borgne, on the city's east side. 'It is the court's opinion that the negligence of the corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MR-GO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia, and shortsightedness,' wrote US District Court Judge Stanwood Duval. Judge Duval said he believed it was the failure to shore up the outlet that 'doomed the channel to grow to two to three times its design width' allowing waves on Lake Borgne to enter the Mr. Go and travel into the east side of the city, battering the levees to a degree to which they were not designed. 'One of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the US' was both predictable and preventable, testified veteran Louisiana geologist Sherwood Gagliano, a former Corps consultant."

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MS Finds Security Flaw In Google Chrome Frame
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 03:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they're-the-experts deptartment:
Christmas Shopping writes with this excerpt from Kaspersky Labs' threatpost: "Back in September, when Google launched the Google Chome Frame plug-in for Internet Explorer users, Microsoft immediately warned that the move would increase the attack surface and make IE users less secure. Now comes word that a security researcher in the Microsoft Vulnerability Research (MSVR) has discovered a 'high risk' security vulnerability that could allow an attacker to bypass cross-origin protections." "Google has hurried out a patch," he adds.

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Modern Warfare 2 Not Recalled In Russia After All
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 12:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-the-thought-that-counts deptartment:
thief21 writes "After claims that console versions Modern Warfare 2 had been recalled in Russia due to complaints from politicians and the gaming public over the infamous airport slaughter scene, it turns out the stories were completely untrue. Activision never released a console version of the game in Russia." Instead, they simply edited the notorious scene out of the PC version. They did this of their own volition, since Russia doesn't have a formal ratings committee.

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Dark Energy, Life Searches Make Strange Bedfellows
Posted by News Fetcher on November 20 '09 at 12:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-would-the-kids-look-like? deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Both the EU and US are using a strategy to merge what used to be two separate searches: the search for exoplanets that may harbor life and the search for dark energy. In an effort to develop 'robust, low-risk missions that maximize the scientific return,' the article analyzes how, without any changes, a space-based dark energy telescope could also check for microlensing events indicating an exoplanet."

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EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '09 at 09:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's say-goodnight-folks deptartment:
lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."

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Microsoft Applies For Patent On Tufte's Sparklines
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '09 at 08:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's audacity-of-patents deptartment:
jenkin sear writes "Data Visualization Guru Edward Tufte developed Sparklines, a great way to display condensed data as an inline graphic. Excel's new version has incorporated the design element — and Microsoft has applied for a patent on them — without so much as a by-your-leave from Tufte."

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Google Accused of Violating Copyright In China
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '09 at 05:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's capitalist-running-dogs deptartment:
angry tapir writes "The Chinese Authors Society has demanded that Google present a resolution plan by the end of the year and quickly handle compensation for Chinese authors whose books the US company has scanned without permission as part of its Book Search program. A local copyright protection group, co-founded by the authors group, has said it found at least 17,000 Chinese works included in Google's scanning plan."

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Intel Says Brain Implants Could Control Computers By 2020
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '09 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's phalanges-are-fine-thanks deptartment:
Lucas123 writes "Scientists at Intel are working on developing sensors that would be implanted in a person's head in order to harness brain waves that could then be used to control computers, televisions, cell phones and other electronic equipment. Intel has already used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) machines to determine that blood flow changes in specific areas of the brain based on what word or image someone is thinking of. People tend to show the same brain patterns for similar thoughts. 'Eventually people may be willing to be more committed ... to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.' said Intel research scientist Dean Pomerleau."

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Microsoft Denies It Built Backdoor Into Windows 7
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '09 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-are-your-wife's-bruises? deptartment:
CWmike writes "Microsoft has denied that it has built a backdoor into Windows 7, a concern that surfaced yesterday after a senior National Security Agency (NSA) official testified before Congress that the agency had worked on the operating system. 'Microsoft has not and will not put "backdoors" into Windows,' a company spokeswoman said, reacting to a Computerworld story Wednesday. On Monday, Richard Schaeffer, the NSA's information assurance director, told the Senate's Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security that the agency had partnered with the developer during the creation of Windows 7 'to enhance Microsoft's operating system security guide.' Thursday's categorical denial by Microsoft was accompanied by further explanation of exactly how the NSA participated in the making of Windows 7. 'The work being discussed here is purely in conjunction with our Security Compliance Management Toolkit,' said the spokeswoman. The company rolled out the Windows 7 version of the toolkit late last month, shortly after it officially launched the operating system."

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Synchronize Data Between Linux, OS X, and Windows?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '09 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's please-be-more-specific deptartment:
aaaaaaargh! writes "I'm using a laptop with Ubuntu 8.04 for work, a netbook with Ubuntu 9.10 when I'm outside, Mac OS X 10.5 for hobby projects, and Windows XP for gaming. For backups, I'm currently using Jungle Disk and Apple's Time Machine, and I use a local svn repository for my work data. Now I need to frequently exchange and synchronize OpenOffice and Latex files and source code in various cross-platform programming languages between one machine and another. Options range from putting everything online (but Jungle Disk disks seem to be too slow for anything else than backup), storing my data on external media like USB sticks or SD cards, or working with copies by synchronizing folders over the network. I don't want to give my data away to some server outside without strong encryption (controlled by me, including the source code) and external media like USB sticks are a bit too fragile according to my taste. The solution should be reliable, relatively failsafe, as simple as possible, and allow me to continue to use Jungle Disk for backup. So what would you recommend?"

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