By manishs from Slashdot's honor-system department
An anonymous reader shares a Motherboard report: Freddie Mercury, frontman of Queen and transcendent being of pure performative joy and vitality, would have been 70 years old this Monday, September 5. To celebrate the occasion and honor Mercury's enormous impact on pop culture, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has officially changed the name of Asteroid 17473, located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, to "Freddiemercury." It's a fitting tribute to the man who exuberantly sang that he was "a shooting star leaping through the sky" in the heart-thumping rock rager "Don't Stop Me Now." Queen's lead guitarist Brian May, who also happens to be an astrophysicist with a namesake asteroid of his own, announced the news to the band's fans via YouTube on Sunday. Mercury's asteroid is about three and a half kilometers across, and has an albedo of about 0.3, which means it reflects only about 30 percent of the Sun's light. "It's a dark object, like a cinder in space, as many of these asteroids are," May said. "It's just a dot of light, but it's a very special dot of light."Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's overpriced-stuff department
Vlad Savov, writing for The Verge: Like a grand old dinosaur that's being left behind by the evolution of the tech industry, Sony is in desperate recovery mode here at IFA. The company has new phones, a rather nice pair of noise-canceling headphones, the imminent PS VR, and... a truly outlandish combo of music player and headphones that costs a mighty $5,499.98. I guess there had to be some outlet for Sony's classic wild-eyed grandeur. Sony's new Signature audio series consists of the gold-plated NW-WM1Z Walkman, which weighs in at 455g (1lb) and $3,200, the $2,300 MDR-Z1R closed-back headphones, and a desktop headphone amp whose price I haven't even dared to look up. First impressions? The portable media player barely qualifies to be called portable. This new 256GB Walkman glints beautifully under IFA's bright lights, and its hefty case is machined to a perfect finish, but its weight is overwhelming. I simultaneously love it for its looks and hate it for its impracticality. Typical Sony, then!Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's aftermath department
Kelly Fiveash, writing for ArsTechnica:UK Prime minister Theresa May said at the weekend that she wanted to take her time to secure the best trade deals for a post-Brexit Britain, and reiterated -- in her trademark vague terms -- that the so-called Article 50 won't be triggered this year. But political pressure from governments as far away as Japan continues to mount. On Sunday, in a bold move, the Japanese government published a 15-page memo setting out a number of demands it wants the UK to adhere to, once it leaves the European Union. It underscored that Britain faces a torrid time of negotiations -- not just with member states in the EU, but further afield, too. Japan, which has close economic ties with the UK, listed its demands based on requests from businesses in the country. It said; "It is of great importance that the UK and the EU maintain market integrity and remain attractive destinations for businesses where free trade, unfettered investment, and smooth financial transactions are ensured." It's brutal stuff from Japan, and could well lead to other countries making similarly robust demands. On tech specifically, the Japanese government called on the UK and EU, post-Brexit, to maintain cloud agreements between businesses at an international level, by safeguarding the "free transfer of data."Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's pirate-attack department
An anonymous reader shares a TorrentFreak report: Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is launching a direct attack against Spridningskollen, the group that's spearheading the copyright trolling efforts in Sweden. Bahnhof accuses the anti-piracy outfit of trademark infringement and demands the shutdown of its website.Firm Spridningskollen, which is one of the top organizations that is helping rightholders in target Sweden plans to target 1,000 alleged pirates, offering them settlements of around $233. The report adds: Spridningskollen spokesman Gordon Odenbark compared the process with speeding cameras, where torrent users risk a 'fine' if they get caught. This will generate revenue, but could also act as a deterrent, preventing other people from violating rightsholders' rights. Interestingly, however, shortly after Spridningskollen announced its plans the group itself faced allegations of intellectual property rights violations. Swedish ISP Bahnhof is accusing the group of trademark infringement, noting that they have a claim on the "spridningskollen" mark. "Bahnhof was the first to apply for the Spridningskollen trademark rights at the Swedish Patent and Registration Office," the ISP announced.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department
Forum of porn website Brazzers has been hacked, exposing the data of as many as 800,000 users, reports Motherboard. Though the data originated from the company's separate forum, the report adds, Brazzers users who never signed up to the forum may also find their details included in the dump. From the report: Motherboard was provided the dataset by breach monitoring site Vigilante.pw for verification purposes. The data contains 790,724 unique email addresses, and also includes usernames and plaintext passwords. (The set has 928,072 entries in all, but many are duplicates.) Troy Hunt, a security researcher and creator of the website Have I Been Pwned? helped verify the dataset by contacting subscribers to his site, who confirmed a number of their details from the data.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's because-why-not? department
As America celebrates a national holiday honoring organized labor, long-time Slashdot reader itwbennett shares this story about the modern workplace:
Three years ago, talent management and human resources company Haufe U.S. created a workplace democracy in which C-level leadership is elected by the employees for a one-year term. In an interview with CIO, Kelly Max, who is currently serving as Haufe's CEO, explains how the company got to this point and what they've learned from the experience.
"If you're going to talk about how your employees 'own' the company, if you're going to tout how they all have a voice, why not go all the way and see what happens? Because why not? You already have people working for and with you who elect you every day, who either agree or disagree with you and follow you, so we wanted to make it very transparent," says Max.
This raises an inevitable question for Slashdot readers: would your own organization work as a democracy? So leave your answers here in the comments. Would your company's employees fire your CEO?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's whither,-not-withered department
"Tor hasn't changed, it's the world that's changed," says Aaron Johnson, the lead researcher on a 2013 paper which reported that 80% of Tor users could be de-anonymized within six months, and that today's users may want protection from different threats. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Ars Technica:
The most probable future we face is a world in which Tor continues to offer a good-but-not-perfect, general-purpose anonymity system, while new anonymity networks arrive offering stronger anonymity optimised for particular use-cases, like anonymous messaging, anonymous filesharing, anonymous microblogging, and anonymous voice-over-IP. Nor is the Tor Project standing still. Tor today is very different from the first public release more than a decade ago, [Tor project cofounder Nick] Mathewson is quick to point out. That evolution will continue.
"It's been my sense for ages that the Tor we use in five years will look very different from the Tor we use today," he says. "Whether that's still called Tor or not is largely a question of who builds and deploys it first. We are not stepping back from innovation. I want better solutions than we have today that are easier to use and protect people's privacy."
The article lists five projects that are "breaking new ground in developing stronger anonymity systems," including the Dissent Project, the Aqua and Herd projects (for filesharing and voice over IP), Vuvuzela/Alpenhorn (for anonymous chat), Riffle (filesharing), and Riposte (anonymous microblogging). Tor project cofounder Nick Mathewson is urging anonymity developers to begin using their own software. "What you learn about software from running it is like what you learn from food by tasting it... You can't actually know whether you've made a working solution for humans unless you give it to humans, including yourself."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's spying-on-spyware department
The New York Times continues their coverage of the commercial spytech industry, noting its services "are in higher demand now that companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are using stronger encryption to protect data in their systems, in the process making it harder for government agencies to track suspects... For the last six years, the NSO Group's main product, a tracking system called Pegasus, has been used by a growing number of government agencies to target a range of smartphones -- including iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry and Symbian systems -- without leaving a trace...to extract text messages, contact lists, calendar records, emails, instant messages and GPS locations." Slashdot reader turkeydance quotes their article:
That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like -- just check out the company's price list. The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user's location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device...
The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords. The NSO Group's corporate mission statement is "Make the world a safe place"... An ethics committee made up of employees and external counsel vets potential customers based on human rights rankings set by the World Bank and other global bodies....
< article continued at Slashdot's spying-on-spyware department
>Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's missed-connections department
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
TSA checkpoints caused 6,800 American Airlines passengers to miss their flights in just one week this spring, and the problem isn't improving. "Two years ago the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offered $15,000 to anybody -- literally anybody -- who could come up with an idea to speed up airport security..." writes Popular Science. "They wouldn't say who won or for which idea, but since we're here two years later with longer wait times than ever, it's fair to say it hasn't lived up to the groundbreaking ideals of that call to action... Now in summer 2016, the TSA recommends arriving three hours early instead of a mere two."
So this spring the Seattle-Tacoma airport replaced many of the TSA staff with private screeners, although "Private security operates under strict direction from the TSA, and even those airports that heavily utilize private contractors still have a lot of TSA personnel in the back rooms..." according to the article. "The ability to do exactly what the TSA does, only faster and cheaper, seems to be the major draw." Now 22 U.S. airports are using private screeners, although the Seattle and San Francisco airports are the only ones with significant traffic.
The article also cites a Homeland Security report which discovered that investigators were able to smuggle a test bomb past security checkpoints in 67 out of 70 tests.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's government-giving department
Finland is getting ready to launch their first pilot program with a Universal Basic Income -- one of several countries which are now testing the concept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Futurism.com:
Finland is about to launch an experiment in which a randomly selected group of 2,000-3,000 citizens already on unemployment benefits will begin to receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros (approximately $600). That basic income will replace their existing benefits. The amount is the same as the current guaranteed minimum level of Finnish social security support. The pilot study, running for two years in 2017-2018, aims to assess whether basic income can help reduce poverty, social exclusion, and bureaucracy, while increasing the employment rate.
In January a basic income program will also begin testing in the Netherlands, according to the article, which points out that Y Combinator has also launched a test program in Oakland, California. And there's now also calls for a Universal Basic Income in India, where one social worker argues it's "sound social policy," while pointing out that it's already being implemented in other countries. "In Brazil, it targets the poor and has been a way out of poverty; in Iran, it has substituted for subsidies and citizens receive about $500 a year..."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's ditching-the-dongles department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from TechHive:
On Friday, HDMI Licensing announced a new cable standard that connects USB-C and HDMI devices... The idea, naturally enough, is to to develop an HDMI-to-USB Type-C cable that ties together the most common cabling protocols in both the PC and consumer electronics industries, eliminating the need for an adapter or special silicon. Source devices like PCs, tablets, and smartphones will be able to output HDMI video and multi-channel audio from a USB-C port, just as they can now with DisplayPort.
"The USB Type-C connector is gaining traction in the mobile and PC markets," said HDMI Licensing, LLC president Rob Tobias. "Consumers expect to easily connect these devices to displays with a USB Type-C to HDMI cable and utilize the capabilities and features of native HDMI. This specification will also result in more source devices incorporating HDMI," which already total about 6 billion, he said.
HDMI Licensing expects to see products launching with this new technology "early next year".Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's friend-requests department
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
"A fugitive in Florida has been arrested by police after he used a wanted poster adorned with his mug shot for his Facebook profile picture," writes the International Business Times. After investigating reports of a disturbance, police discovered the 41-year-old's Facebook profile, which revealed the man was already wanted for six months for violating his parole after two counts of battery.
"Police say that as they arrested Yearwood a bag of marijuana fell out of his pocket. They charged him with possession of cannabis under 20 grams and are continuing to investigate the battery complaint."
One Twitter user jokingly suggested that the suspect should also be charged with copyright infringement -- for using the police department's photo without their permission.Read Replies (0)