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Eric Schmidt Gets A Job At The Pentagon
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's setting-the-boundaries-for-healthy-relationships department:
An anonymous reader writes: Alphabet Chairman and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is heading up a new effort to make the Pentagon more tech savvy. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carton on Wednesday appointed Schmidt the head of a new Defense Innovation Advisory Board, which will help the Pentagon keep up with the latest Silicon Valley ideas and apply them at the Department of Defense. The board will address problems in the way the Pentagon uses technology, and it will be tasked with offering "quick solutions." Schmidt's group will have no access to information about military operations strategy. Schmidt will oversee a group of up to 11 other board members, who also have led large private companies and public organizations.

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Scuba Diver Survives Being Sucked Into Nuclear Plant
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's time-to-buy-a-lottery-ticket department:
mdsolar writes: A man scuba diving in Florida somehow survived being sucked into a nuclear power plant in a terrifying log flume ride. Christopher Le Cun was boating off the coast of Hutchinson Island when he and his friend went under to check out three large shadows beneath the waves that looked like buildings. After diving down, he felt a current that quickly pulled him toward one of three intake pipes, got sucked in and was immersed in darkness for five minutes in the water being taken to cool the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. Le Cun told WPTV that he thought he was going to be chopped into tiny bits when he hit a turbine at the end of the 16-foot-wide, quarter-mile tube. However, the turbine never came, and the pipe eventually spat him out into a reservoir at the plant holding water used to cool the nuclear reactor. After finding a passing worker, Le Cun was able to call wife Brittany, who thought her husband was dead after seeing the shocked face of his diving partner.

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How Common Is Your PIN?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 02:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's more-human-than-human-is-our-motto department:
phantomfive writes: We've seen password frequency lists, here is an analysis of PIN frequency with a nice heatmap towards the bottom. There is a line for numbers starting with 19*, which is the year of birth, a cluster around MM/DD for people's birthdays, and a hard diagonal line for the same digit repeated four times.

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Crossword Database Analysis Spots What Looks Like Plagiarism
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 12:32 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's allegedly-apparently-oh-just-give-it-up department:
Seattle software developer Saul Pwanson has a hobby of developing crossword puzzles, but another related hobby, too: analyzing the way that existing puzzles have been constructed. He created a database that aggregates puzzles that have appeared in various publications, including, crucially, the New York Times and USA Today, and sorts them based on similarities. Puzzles that have a greater percentage of the same black squares, or the same letters in identical positions, are ranked as more similar. Crosswords often re-use answers; puzzle-solvers are used to encountering some of the usual glue words that connect parts of the grid. As 538 reports, though, Pwanson noticed something odd in the data: Many of the puzzles that appeared in USA Today and affiliated publications, listed under various creators' names but all published under Timothy Parker as editor, were highly similar to each other, differing in as little as four answer words. These Pwanson classifies as "shoddy" -- they seem to be about as different as test responses based on a passed-around answer sheet. These seem to shortchange readers expecting original works, but may represent no real copyright problem, since Universal Uclick holds the copyright to them all. Perhaps puzzle enthusiasts aren't surprised that a publishing syndicate economizes on crosswords with slight variations, or that horoscopes are sometimes recycled.

< article continued at Slashdot's allegedly-apparently-oh-just-give-it-up department >

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No, Turning On Your Phone Is Not Consenting To Being Tracked By Police
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 12:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's that-counts-as-consent department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Wednesday upheld a historic decision by a state trial court that the warrantless use of cell-site simulators, or Stingrays, violates the Fourth Amendment. The trial had suppressed evidence obtained by the warrantless use of a Stingray -- the first time any court in the nation had done so. Last April, a Baltimore police detective testified that the department has used Stingrays 4,300 times since 2007, usually without notifying judges or defendants. Stingrays mimic cellphone towers, tricking nearby phones into connecting and revealing users' locations. Stingrays sweep up data on every phone nearby -- collecting information on dozens or potentially hundreds of people. The ruling has the potential to set a strong precedent about warrantless location tracking.

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Samsung Galaxy S7's Moisture Warning Prevents Charging When Wet
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 11:12 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's use-more-rice department:
MojoKid writes: The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge don't officially launch for a few more days, but some carriers appear to have shipped pre-orders early and some phones are already in consumers' hands. One early Galaxy S7 Edge owner appears to have tested his phones' water-resistance already and uncovered another new feature in the process. The user submerged his Galaxy S7 Edge in water and snapped a photo, then about four hours later plugged the phone into its fast charger and a warning popped-up on screen that stated, "Moisture detected in charging port", and the phone wouldn't charge. The user dried the phone and let it sit for a while, and it eventually started to charge again, but it wouldn't quick charge any longer. Frustrated, the user RMA'd the phone and plans to send it back to T-Mobile. The Galaxy S7 is IP68 rated, which means it is sealed against dust and can handle continuous submersion in up to 1 meter of water. However, the water detection feature that's apparently built into the Galaxy S7 is a good idea. Though the devices are IP68 rated, a few drops of water in the charging port could easily cause a short when the phone is plugged in.

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Former First Lady Nancy Reagan Dead At 94
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 09:52 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
An anonymous reader writes: Former first lady Nancy Reagan has died, according to a spokeswoman with the Reagan Library. She was 94. The cause of death was congestive heart failure, according to her rep Joanne Drake. "Mrs. Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004," Drake wrote in a statement. May she rest in peace.

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BorgBackup 1.0.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 09:52 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's two-is-one-and-one-is-none department:
An anonymous reader writes: After almost a year of development, bug fixing and cleanup, BorgBackup 1.0.0 has been released. BorgBackup is a fork of the Attic-Backup project — a deduplicating, compressing, encrypting and authenticating backup program for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and other unixoid operating systems (Windows may also work using CygWin, but that is rather experimental/unsupported).
It works on 32bit as well as on 64bit platforms, x86/x64 and ARM CPUs (maybe as well on others, but these are the tested ones).

For Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X, there are single-file binaries which can be just copied onto a system and contain everything needed (Python, libraries, BorgBackup itself). Of course, it can be also installed from source.

BorgBackup is FOSS (BSD License) and implemented in Python 3 (91%), speed critical parts are in C or Cython (9%).

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Oregon Set To Become First Coal-Free State
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 09:52 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-a-first-for-everything department:
New submitter daubney writes: Oregon lawmakers have approved legislation to eliminate coal from the state's electrical supply by 2035, the first U.S. state to do so. The bill, called the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition plan, commits the state to doubling its use of renewable energy, including solar and wind, to 50 percent by 2040. The bill, passed this week by both legislative branches, now heads to Gov. Kate Brown. Brown said in a statement that the legislation "equips Oregon with a bold and progressive path towards the energy resource mix of the future." Today, roughly one-third of Oregon's power is produced from coal, according to the Oregon Department of Energy. The measure makes Oregon the first state to eliminate coal by legislative action, The Associated Press reports. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oregon is matched only by Hawaii, with a 100 requirement by 2045, Vermont, with a 75 percent target by 2032, and California and New York, with 50 percent goals by 2030.

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Email Inventor Ray Tomlinson Dies At 74
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 08:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
vikingpower writes: ARPAnet pioneer and networking legend Ray Tomlinson, who is best known for his contributions in developing email standards, has died at 74. Tomlinson was best known for choosing the @ symbol to indicate a message should be sent to a different computer on a network. He also led development of standards for the from, subject, and date fields found in every email message sent today.
When Tomlinson first showed his invention to his colleague Jerry Burchfiel, Tomlinson said, "Don't tell anyone! This isn't what we're supposed to be working on." May Ray rest in peace in /dev/null.

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It Turns Out the F-35 Can Dogfight
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 08:21 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dogfighting-with-the-stars-is-next department:
An anonymous reader writes: Writing for Defense News Lara Seligman reports, "For the first time since a controversial report detailing how the F-35 performs in a dogfight emerged last summer, an F-35 pilot gave an in-depth analysis of his experience flying the jet in a close-range battle scenario. Norwegian Air Force Maj. Morten 'Dolby' Hanche, the first Norwegian to fly the F-35, analyzed the jet's performance in a dogfight in a March 1 blog post published on Norway's Ministry of Defense website. Although Hanche never mentions the 2015 report, 'F-35A High Angle of Attack Operational Maneuvers' revealed last summer by blogger David Axe on WarisBoring.com, he counters many of the anonymous author's claims."

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Amazon Backpedals On Encryption, But Fire "Still Sucks"
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 05:42 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's gift-for-one's-enemies department:
Just a day after it made headlines for announcing that it would remove encryption from its line of FireOS devices, reports Ars Technica, the company has reverted the change, and says that encryption will again be a user-selectable option, with an update to come sometime this Spring. Judging from comments here on Slashdot, that ought to please a lot of people. However, encryption isn't the Fire's only problem; Ricki Jennings at ComputerWorld has collected some of the user reaction to the change, and says that anemic hardware means that even with this small course correction, the Fire tablets themselves "still suck." I'm not so sure; I bought one of the low-end Fire tablets and returned it, disappointed not in the hardware (seemed not bad at all for $50, with a decent screen, snappy video, and sound that was better than reviews had led me to expect) but rather by the intentional limitations of the OS itself.

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Kremlin Falls For Its Own Fake Satellite Imagery
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 02:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-my-department department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Turkish downing of the Russian SU-24 jet last November saw a predictable series of statements from each side claiming complete innocence and blaming the other entirely. Social media was a key battleground for both sides — the Turkish and Russian governments, along with their supporters — as each tried to establish a dominant narrative explanation for what had just happened. In the midst of the online competition, a little-observed, funhouse mirror of an online hoax was brilliantly perpetrated, one with consequences likely exceeding the expectation of the hoaxster. The Russian Ministry of Defense was duped by a fake image that Russian state media itself had circulated more than a year earlier, as a way to deny Moscow's involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

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Fingerprint-Protected Phones Vulnerable To Inkjet Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 12:01 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ordinary-household-materials department:
An anonymous reader writes: Two researchers have come up with a new method of hacking smartphones that use fingerprint biometrics to protect and lock the user's data. Their method only needs a regular inkjet printer, three AgIC silver conductive ink cartridges, a normal black ink cartridge, and special AgIC paper. The entire attack takes no more than 15 minutes. Current tests only included a Samsung Galaxy S6 and a Huawei Hornor 7. The researchers said that while the Samsung was easy to crack, the Huawei phone needed more tries.

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San Bernadino D.A. Says Shooter's Phone Could Harbor "Cyber Pathogen"
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '16 at 09:22 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's and-they-say-law-school-stifles-the-imagination department:
Mr.Intel writes with the Guardian's report that : San Bernadino D.A. has a novel argument for why Apple should be forced to provide the FBI with tools to decrypt the iPhone once used by mass-shooter Syed Rizwan Farook: a "dormant cyber pathogen," he says, could have been unleashed by the county's electronic infrastructure, and only by examining the phone's content can any really be sure. From the article: The questionable claim comes from Ramos's amicus brief in the case, filed with the US District Court on Thursday afternoon. In it, Ramos supports the FBI's argument that Apple should be compelled to build a one-use version of its operating system to load on to the seized phone – used by the mass-murderer, but still technically property of his employer, San Bernardino county – in order to weaken the security and allow the Government to brute-force the shooter's passcode. ... Ramos said: 'The iPhone is a county owned telephone that may have connected to the San Bernardino County computer network. The seized iPhone may contain evidence that can only be found on the seized phone that it was used as a weapon to introduce a lying dormant cyber pathogen that endangers San Bernardino County's infrastructure and poses a continuing threat to the citizens of San Bernardino County'.

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A Phone App Helps Day Laborers Attack Wage Theft
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '16 at 06:42 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's who-will-watch-the-foremen? department:
An anonymous reader writes with this story from the New York Times, excerpting "After three years of planning, an immigrant rights group in Jackson Heights is set to start a smartphone app for day laborers, a new digital tool with many uses: Workers will be able to rate employers (think Yelp or Uber), log their hours and wages, take pictures of job sites and help identify, down to the color and make of a car, employers with a history of withholding wages. They will also be able to send instant alerts to other workers. The advocacy group will safeguard the information and work with lawyers to negotiate payment."

Adds the submitter: "Although I completely support the app, personally, I see this encountering some significant legal challenges. Hope they've lawyered up." Though the use case is different, this is similar in spirit to "cop watch" apps, like Cell411 and the ACLU's Mobile Justice. (And of course there's Periscope.)

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Hundreds of Hackers Celebrate Open Data Day
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '16 at 05:21 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's never-too-late department:
An anonymous reader writes: Hundreds of different data-hacking events are being held around the globe this weekend to celebrate International Open Data Day. It's the fifth installment of an annual event promoting government data-sharing with a series of loosely joined hackathons, "to show support for and encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world's local, regional and national governments," according to the event's web site. "Data science is a team sport," says Megan Smith, the former Google executive turned U.S. CTO, who points out over 200,000 new federal data sets have been opened to the public since 2009 on Data.gov. Each hackathon will culminate with a demo or brainstorm proposal that can be shared with the other participating groups around the world.

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Record-Breaking 11000ft Flight Sparks Criticism In Pilot Community
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '16 at 04:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's guesswork-and-luck department:
An anonymous reader writes: In an attempt to break the world 'how high can you fly a consumer drone' record, an anonymous person from the Netherlands flew a Phantom 2 Quadcopter to a height of up to 3.4 km. That is more than 3 km above the maximum European Union legal height of 120 meters, which has applied since July 1, 2015 to hobby drones. Undoubtedly he set a new record of sorts, which also led to substantial discussions among the drone pilot community on the safe use of drones. At a height of 3.4 kilometers or 11000 feet you can indeed run into regular air traffic, or cause a lot of damage in case of a crash. Fortunately not in this flight -- but the battery had only 4% capacity at the moment of landing.

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Scientists To Drill Into 'Ground Zero' of the Impact That Killed the Dinosaurs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '16 at 02:42 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's haven't-they-read-any-michael-crichton? department:
sciencehabit writes: This month, a drilling platform will rise in the Gulf of Mexico, but it won't be aiming for oil. Scientists will try to sink a diamond-tipped bit into the heart of Chicxulub crater — the buried remnant of the asteroid impact 66 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs, along with most other life on the planet. They hope that the retrieved rock cores will contain clues to how life came back in the wake of the cataclysm, and whether the crater itself could have been a home for novel microbial life. And by drilling into a circular ridge inside the 180-kilometer-wide crater rim, scientists hope to settle ideas about how such 'peak rings,' hallmarks of the largest impact craters, take shape.

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Anonymous Hacks Donald Trump's Voicemail and Leaks the Messages
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '16 at 02:42 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-be-a-dear-darling-and-lend-me-your-credit-card department:
Mark Wilson writes: In the run-up to the presidential election, few days go by when Donald Trump isn't hitting the headlines for something he's said or done. The bombastic billionaire looks set to become the Republican candidate, and his journey towards the White House is littered with offense and controversy, and back in December Anonymous declared war on him. The loose collective of hackers and activist made its declaration after Trump announced plans to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. One of the first strikes in Anonymous' war sees the group hacking the businessman's voicemail and leaking the messages. The messages appear to show that Trump had a surprisingly cosy relationship with the more left-leaning section of the media than one might imagine.

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