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As Trade Restrictions Crumble, Airbnb Offers Rooms In Cuba
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's gee-thanks-only-50-years-wasted department:
As reported by the Associated Press, and carried by the Washington Post, one major move toward normalized relations between Cuba and the United States has been made not by diplomats, but by entrepreneurs. Airbnb has opened its crowd-sourced roomfinding service to Cubans and Americans, such that American tourists visiting Havana can book space in private homes — as of today.
From the article:
“We believe that Cuba could become one of Airbnb’s biggest markets in Latin America,” said Kay Kuehne, regional director for Airbnb, the website and mobile app that allows users to book rooms in more than 1 million private homes around the world. “We are actually plugging into an existing culture of micro-enterprise in Cuba. The hosts in Cuba have been doing for decades what we just started doing seven years ago. ... Because of continuing restrictions under the U.S. embargo, the company’s Cuba listing will only be available to U.S. travelers visiting under one of 12 U.S.-government approved categories of legal travel, ranging from professional research to religious activities.”

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EFF: Wider Use of HTTPS Could Have Prevented Attack Against GitHub
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-day-one-day department:
itwbennett writes The attack against GitHub was enabled by someone tampering with regular website traffic to unrelated Chinese websites, all of which used a JavaScript analytics and advertising related tool from Baidu. Somewhere on China's network perimeter, that analytics code was swapped out for code that transparently sent data traffic to GitHub. The reason GitHub's adversaries were able to swap out the code is because many of the Chinese websites weren't encrypting their traffic.

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EU's Unitary Software Patent Challenged At the Belgian Constitutional Court
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-bureaucracy-to-bind-them-all department:
zoobab writes The Unitary Patent for Europe is being challenged at the Belgian Constitutional Court. One of the plaintiffs, Benjamin Henrion, is a fifteen-year campaigner against software patents in Europe. He says: "The Unitary Patent is the third major attempt to legalize software patents in Europe. The captive European Patent Court will become the Eastern District of Texas when it comes to software patent disputes in Europe. As happened in America, the concentration of power will force up legal costs, punish small European companies, and benefit large patent holders."

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Einstein and Schrodinger's Quest for a Unified Theory led to a Titanic Clash
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's battle-of-the-brains department:
StartsWithABang writes When it comes to the very nature of quantum mechanics — about the inherent uncertainty and indeterminism to reality — it's one of the most difficult things to accept. Perhaps, you imagine, there's some underlying cause, some hidden reality beneath what's visible that actually is deterministic. After all, a cat can't simultaneously be dead and alive until someone looks can it? That's one of the problems that both Einstein and Schrödinger wrestled with during their lives. An investigation of that story, their work on that front, and their friendship that ensued as both pursued that same end is thoroughly investigated here by physicist Paul Halpern.

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NASA-ESA Project Will Shoot an Asteroid To See What Happens
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's johnny-cash-with-a-bigger-budget department:
astroengine writes What better way to understand how to deflect an incoming asteroid than to smash into one to see what happens? This may sound like the storyline to a certain science fiction movie involving a team of oil drillers, but this is science fact, and Europe has started planning a mission to map a small target asteroid that NASA will attempt to shoot with a speeding spacecraft, no nukes required. As the first half of the joint Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment mission, the European Space Agency this month has started planning for the launch of its Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) in October 2020. AIM's target will be the binary asteroid system of Didymos, which is composed of a main 800 meter-wide hunk of space rock circled by a smaller 170 meter-wide asteroid informally known as "Didymoon." It's the smaller asteroid that the joint NASA/ESA mission is interested in bullying.

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MP3 Backend of Firefox and Thunderbird Found Vulnerable
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
jones_supa writes A critical vulnerability has been found in the MPEG-1 Layer III playback backend of Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Security researcher Aki Helin reported a use-after-free scenario when playing certain audio files on the web using the Fluendo MP3 plugin for GStreamer on Linux. This is due to a flaw in handling certain MP3 files by the plugin and its interaction with Mozilla code. A maliciously crafted MP3 file can lead to a potentially exploitable crash. Linux is the only affected platform, so Windows and OS X users are safe from this particular vulnerability.

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Chinese Certificate Authority CNNIC Is Dropped From Google Products
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's reject-your-reality-and-substitute-our-own department:
eldavojohn writes A couple weeks ago, Google contacted the CNNIC (China's CA) to alert them of a problem regarding the delegated power of issuing fraudulent certificates for domains (in fact this came to light after fraudulent certificates were issued for Google's domains). Following this, Google decided to remove the CNNIC Root and EV CA as trusted CAs in its Chrome browser and all Google products. Today, the CNNIC responded to Google: "1. The decision that Google has made is unacceptable and unintelligible to CNNIC, and meanwhile CNNIC sincerely urge that Google would take users' rights and interests into full consideration. 2. For the users that CNNIC has already issued the certificates to, we guarantee that your lawful rights and interests will not be affected." Mozilla is waiting to formulate a plan.

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Focusing On Tech Alone, You Miss How Autonomous Driving Will Change Society
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's whole-new-ballgame department:
Hallie Siegel writes The way that consumers interact with and operate cars will transform most functions in commuting, travel, communications, car ownership, and many other as-yet unknown ways. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said at this year's CES in Las Vegas: "Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society." Robotics watcher Frank Tobe writes about how imagination is overtaking the ethics debate around autonomous cars."

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Einstein & Schrödinger's Quest for a Unified Theory led to a Titanic Cl
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 01:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's battle-of-the-brains department:
StartsWithABang writes When it comes to the very nature of quantum mechanics — about the inherent uncertainty and indeterminism to reality — it's one of the most difficult things to accept. Perhaps, you imagine, there's some underlying cause, some hidden reality beneath what's visible that actually is deterministic. After all, a cat can't simultaneously be dead and alive until someone looks can it? That's one of the problems that both Einstein and Schrödinger wrestled with during their lives. An investigation of that story, their work on that front, and their friendship that ensued as both pursued that same end is thoroughly investigated here by physicist Paul Halpern.

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MP3 Backend of Firefox and Thunderbird Found Vulnerable
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '15 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
jones_supa writes A critical vulnerability has been found in the MPEG-1 Layer III playback backend of Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Security researcher Aki Helin reported a use-after-free scenario when playing certain audio files on the web using the Fluendo MP3 plugin for GStreamer on Linux. This is due to a flaw in handling certain MP3 files by the plugin and its interaction with Mozilla code. A maliciously crafted MP3 file can lead to a potentially exploitable crash. Linux is the only affected platform, so Windows and OS X users are safe from this particular vulnerability.

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UK Forces Microsoft To Adopt Open Document Standards
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's opening-it-up department:
First time accepted submitter Barsteward writes Microsoft has confirmed it will start supporting the Open Documents Format (ODF) in the next update to Office 365, following a lengthy battle against the UK government. In 2014, Microsoft went against the government's request to support ODF, claiming its own XML format was more heavily adopted. The UK government refutes the claim, stating that ODF allows users to not be boxed into one ecosystem.

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Amazon Moves "Buy Now" Into the Physical World, With the Dash Button
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's but-I-want-it-now department:
Zothecula writes The Amazon Dash Button is a small device that you can stick to walls or a variety of household appliances. Each button is associated with a certain brand or product, and when you set it up (via smartphone) you associate the button with a specific size or quantity (like, say, two 12-packs of Starbucks K-cups or one 2-pack of 50 oz. Tide detergent) and shipping speed. When you start to get low on said product, mash the button and Amazon takes care of the rest.

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Verizon Subscribers Can Now Opt Out of "Supercookies"
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-track-me-bro department:
itwbennett writes Verizon said in January that it would allow subscribers to opt out of having a unique identifier placed on their phones that critics have labelled a "supercookie" because it's almost impossible to remove, but it didn't say when. On Tuesday, Verizon said the identifier won't be inserted for customers who opt out of its mobile advertising program: "Verizon Wireless has updated its systems so that we will stop inserting the UIDH after a customer opts out of the relevant mobile advertising program or activates a line that is ineligible for the advertising program, such as as a government or business line," Verizon said in a change to its policies.

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Obama Authorizes Penalties For Foreign Cyber Attackers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's laying-down-the-law department:
An anonymous reader writes President Barack Obama has today signed an executive order extending the U.S. administration's power to respond to malicious cyberattacks and espionage campaigns. The order enforces financial sanctions on foreign hackers who action attacks against American businesses, institutions and citizens. It will enable the secretary of the Treasury, along with the attorney general and secretary of State, to inflict penalties on cyber criminals behind hacking attacks which "create a significant threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy or economic health or financial stability of the United States," Obama said. Sanctions could include freezing of assets or a total ban on commercial trade.

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Ask Slashdot: Identifying a Stolen Car Using Police Camera Databases?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it-happens-sometimes-people-just-explode department:
Dear Slashdot: First, some background. I have been "between schools" for some time, but have recently entered a training program that could at least potentially turn into a lucrative career. The work involves investigating, torture testing, and sometimes bypassing various automotive sub-systems, primarily car ignition, security and other embedded systems, for clients who are often surprised just how fragile these systems can be. The pay is minimal while I'm something more like an intern than a full-time employee, but that's OK -- I figure these skills will stand me in good stead. Now, my problem, and a question: One of the vehicles which I would very much like to play with is unavailable to me and my coworkers for the simple reason that it was stolen before we'd even taken possession of it. Normally, my employer might just write off the loss, but for various reasons would really like to locate this car in particular -- perhaps mostly a point of pride, but partly because future contracts from the same client might hinge on locating it rather than looking incompetent. I know that Ars Technica recently showed that it was possible to obtain a great deal of information about scanned registration-plate data using FOIA and other legal means; what I want to know is whether anyone can recommend particular tools or methods for locating stolen cars with such data that doesn't rely on going through the police or insurance companies, saving embarrassment and hassle. I know enough that I could probably file a FOIA *request* (most likely, my supervisor already has, actually) but not sure what we will be able to do with the raw data returned, or if there are sources for data other than "$Plate + GeoCoords." Plates obviously can be changed, too; are there publicly available sources for whole-car images that could be efficiently scanned? Best, of course, would be images with at least some rough sorting applied, so things could be sorted both by geography (we'd focus on our own area, Southern Caifornia, so start with, because we have reason to believe it was stolen in this area) and at least by vehicle type or color. And of course, this is probably asking too much, since I imagine it will be a near-impossible task to get this kind of data; we'd also welcome the magic of crowd-sourcing, so if you spot a tan Chevy Maibu with New Mexico plates (K88-283), there's probably some nice incentives in it for you.

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Rare Ideopathic Encephaly Tied to Higher IQ, Not Lower
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's consume-mass-quantities department:
Timothy writes Cranial deformation is commonly linked to brain dysfunction; it is one of the most common serious conditions affecting fetal growth. Multiple factors are involved, but in nearly every case on record the result is debilitating; stillbirth or neonatal death are common. A mutation, though, has been observed among members of a New Jersey family which represents a rare case of heritable encephaly tied not to dysfunction, but to higher-than-average intelligence, and with no evident negative health consequences.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Scientists Discover Meaning of Life Through Massive Computing Project
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 02:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's bring-a-towel department:
First time accepted submitter Rabbit327 writes In a stunning announcement today scientists have announced that after millions of cycles of computing time on some of the largest super computers that they have discovered the meaning of life. On April 1st 2015 at approximately 03:42 GMT scientists discovered that a long running program had finished. The results stunned scientists who were having tea in the other room when the alarm went off. According to the scientific team the answer was stunning yet confusing. Quoting one scientist "It's amazing. It worked! But what does it mean?!? For heaven's sake we spent all this time calculating the answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe, and everything. This is the answer we get?!? This is the bloody answer we get?!?!??!?" after which the scientist promptly threw a keyboard across the room. According to inside sources the answer given by the computer was "42". What this means will be announced later according to a research representative.

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Parents Sue School After Pod Daughter Is Banned From Prom
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pods-are-people-too department:
With the prom season only a few months away kids and parents alike are starting to make plans for the big day. However, one girl's alien replacement might not get a chance to experience that special day if a school district has its way. Even though Darcy Swope's pod duplicate is virtually identical to her, the Santa Mira school district has decided she is not welcome to prom. School officials acknowledge the duplicate attended school and did Darcy's homework for an unknown period of time but say she isn't really a student and therefore doesn't belong at the dance. Darcy's parents disagree with the decision and have filed suit against the school, Her dad says, "We miss Darcy every day, but the thing that consumed her and is now pretending to be my daughter is almost the same and deserves to be treated the same." "She may not have that sparkle in her eye or the vocabulary as our flesh and blood daughter, but she has never missed curfew and has a thirst to learn. It would be a shame if Darcy II didn't get a chance to experience this important part of being human, even if she isn't one," adds her mother.

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V'Ger Source Code Released
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's build-your-own department:
One of the biggest hurdles to interstellar domination has always been the prohibitive cost of proprietary software for ships or super-weapons. That is all about to change thanks to a surprise move by a mysterious alien race of living machines who have released V'ger's source code. While you'll still need a way to generate a "twelfth-power energy field," this opens the door to many would-be conquerors and ultimate weapon enthusiasts. The release has been praised in terms of increased security and reduced costs by most, but some worry that cheaper, more secure super weapons aren't what the universe needs at this time. Federation spokesperson Lieutenant Ilia disagrees saying: "This is in the carbon units best interest. Many worlds have been infested, You will listen to me."

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Leak Reveals Government Conspiracy, Atrocity
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '15 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's half-of-writing-history-is-hiding-the-truth department:
First time accepted submitter Sigmon writes An unauthorized wave recently broadcast on the Cortex has revealed not only the existence of a previously unknown settlement on a far away border world called Miranda but also that the entire population of settlers was inadvertently wiped out by a top-secret Alliance program. Miranda was purportedly used as a testing ground for G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate, or simply "Pax" — a chemical agent designed to calm the population and weed out aggression. It seems the test did not go as planned. Also, reporters have been dispatched to the location of a battle not far from Miranda's location where the Alliance fleet has apparently suffered significant losses. It is unknown if the two events are related at this time. When contacted for comment on these events, government officials were very tight-lipped, however one official responded with a confusing statement about "Damming a river."

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