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NSA Prepares For Future Techno-Battles By Plotting Network Takedowns
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-friends-and-mine department:
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes According to top secret documents from the archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden seen exclusively by SPIEGEL, they are planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role, with the aim of being able to use the net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money. Also check out — New Snowden documents show that the NSA and its allies are laughing at the rest of the world.

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Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's belief-in-authority department:
SpzToid writes U.S. congressional Republicans on Friday proposed legislation that would set "net neutrality" rules for broadband providers, aiming to head off tougher regulations backed by the Obama administration. Republican lawmakers hope to counter the Federal Communications Commission's vote on Feb. 26 for rules that are expected to follow the legal path endorsed by President Barack Obama, which Internet service providers (ISPs) and Republicans say would unnecessarily burden the industry with regulation. Net neutrality activists, now with Obama's backing, have advocated for regulation of ISPs under a section of communications law known as Title II, which would treat them more like public utilities. The White House on Thursday said legislation was not necessary to settle so-called "net neutrality" rules because the Federal Communications Commission had the authority to write them.

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Hibernation Protein May Halt Alzheimer's
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-ideas-welcome department:
BarbaraHudson writes The BBC is reporting that tests show a protein called RBM3, involved in hibernation, may hold the key to regenerating synapses. In the early stages of Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative disorders, synapses are lost. This inevitably progresses to whole brain cells dying. But during hibernation, 20-30% of the connections in the brain — synapses — are culled as the body preserves resources over winter, and are reformed in the spring, with no loss of memory. Memories can be restored after hibernation as only the receiving end of the synapse shuts down. In a further set of tests, the team showed the brain cell deaths from prion disease and Alzheimer's could be prevented by artificially boosting RBM3 levels. Prof Mallucci was asked if memories could be restored in people if their synapses could be restored: "Absolutely, because a lot of memory decline is correlated with synapse loss, which is the early stage of dementia, so you might get back some of the synapse you've lost."

Further reading: here, here, and here"


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Cuba's Pending Tech Revolution
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's are-we-supposed-to-be-grateful? department:
dcblogs writes The White House order last week lifting economic sanctions against Cuba specifically singles out technology, from telecommunication networks to consumer tech. There's much potential and many obstacles. Cuba has an educated population craving technology, but it has little income for new tech. The Cuban government wants to trade with the U.S., but is paranoid about the outside world and has limited Internet access to 5% to 10% of the population, at best. "The government has been very reluctant to have open Internet access," said Harley Shaiken, chairman of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. But "there is real hunger for technology," and with the easing of the embargo, the government "will be facing new pressures," he said. The country needs a complete technology upgrade, including to its electric grid, and the money to finance these improvements. "Markets like Cuba, which will require a wholesale construction of new infrastructure, don't come along often, if ever," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, a tech industry trade group. "The flood of companies lining up to get in should be quite substantial," he said. Cuba has a population of about 11 million, about the same size as the Dominican Republic, which spends about $1 billion annually on technology and related services, according to IDC. But capital spending today on IT in Cuba may be no more than $200 million annually.

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Ask Slashdot: Can I Trust Android Rooting Tools?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's spider-sense department:
Qbertino writes After a long period of evaluation and weighing cons and pros I've gotten myself a brand new Android tablet (10" Lenovo Yoga 2, Android Version) destined to be my prime mobile computing device in the future. As any respectable freedom-loving geek/computer-expert I want to root it to be able to install API spoofing libraries and security tools to give me owners power over the machine and prevent services like Google and others spying on me, my files, photos, calendar and contacts. I also want to install an ad-blocking proxy (desperately needed — I forgot how much the normal web sucks!). I've searched for some rooting advice and tools, and so far have only stumbled on shady looking sites that offer various Windows-based rooting kits for android devices.

What's the gist on all this? How much of this stuff is potential malware? What are you're experiences? Can I usually trust rooting strategies to be malware-free? Is there a rule-of-thumb for this? Is there perhaps a more generic way for a FOSS/Linux expert who isn't afraid of the CLI to root any Android 4.4 (Kitkat) device? Advice and own experiences, please.


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Winston Churchill's Scientists
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-never-never-never-gave-up department:
HughPickens.com writes Nicola Davis writes at The Guardian that a new exhibition at London's Science Museum tiitled Churchill's Scientists aims to explore how a climate that mingled necessity with ambition spurred British scientists to forge ahead in fields as diverse as drug-discovery and operational research, paving the way for a further flurry of postwar progress in disciplines from neurology to radio astronomy. Churchill "was very unusual in that he was a politician from a grand Victorian family who was also interested in new technology and science," says Andrew Nahum. "That was quite remarkable at the time." An avid reader of Charles Darwin and HG Wells, Churchill also wrote science-inspired articles himself and fostered an environment where the brightest scientists could build ground-breaking machines, such as the Bernard Lovell telescope, and make world-changing discoveries, in molecular genetics, radio astronomy, nuclear power, nerve and brain function and robotics. "During the war the question was never, 'How much will it cost?' It was, 'Can we do it and how soon can we have it?' This left a heritage of extreme ambition and a lot of talented people who were keen to see what it could provide." (More, below.)

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Why Run Linux On Macs?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's horses-for-courses department:
jones_supa writes Apple has always had attractive and stylish hardware, but there are always some customers opting to run Linux instead of OS X on their Macs. But why? One might think that a polished commercial desktop offering designed for that specific lineup of computers might have less rough edges than a free open source one. Actually there's plenty of motivations to choose otherwise. A redditor asked about this trend and got some very interesting answers. What are your reasons?

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Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 04:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you'll-also-want-a-drone-hunting-drone-hunting-drone department:
schwit1 writes, "Are paparazzi flying drones over your garden to snap you sunbathing? You may need the Rapere, the drone-hunting drone which uses 'tangle-lines' to quickly down its prey."

From The Telegraph's article: It has been designed to be faster and more agile than other drones to ensure that they can't escape - partly by limiting flight time and therefore reducing weight.
“Having worked in the UAS industry for years, we've collectively never come across any bogus use of drones. However it's inevitable that will happen, and for people such as celebrities, where there is profit to be made in illegally invading their privacy, there should be an option to thwart it,” the group say on their website.


This seems more efficient than going after those pesky paparazzi drones with fighting kites (video), but it should also inspire some skepticism: CNET notes that the team behind it is anonymous, and that "Rapere works in a lab setting, however there aren't any photos or videos of the killer drone in action. The website instead has only a slideshow of the concept."

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The Free Educational Software GCompris Comes To Android
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '15 at 01:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's approved-for-all-ages department:
New submitter xarma writes GCompris is a reference in its category on GNU/Linux but also on Windows. Its development started in 2000 in Gtk+. Last year the development team, willing to address the tablet and PC users from a single code base, took the hard decision to fully rewrite it in Qt Quick. The new version is now developed under the KDE community umbrella. After one year of work, a first release has been shipped on the Android play store. Continuing on its original funding approach, it remains free software but requires a fee on proprietary platforms.

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New Collaborative Project Wants to Systematize Complex Problem Solving Online
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's end-spam-and-I'll-be-convinced department:
New submitter albert555 writes A new collaborative project emerged lately and its goal is pretty ambitious: solving complex problems. Anyone will look for google or quora to the response of a usual question that requires one single answer, but nothing exists online to solve complex problems with multiple solutions. The website uses brainstorming techniques coupled with the Problem Tree Methodology to solve complex problems; in simple words: decomposing the main issue into subsequent small-ones and providing solutions to the sub-issues, the result taking form of a node tree. Users are free to provide meaningful contents to the nodes and therefore may help understand the causes of the issues or to provide solutions to the ultimate sub-issues, contributions are placed under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license. While Wikipedia proved that collective intelligence could provide quality contents able to compete with the major encyclopedias, Eris Solver intends to channel the wisdom of the crowd to find the best solutions to the most complex problems available. The idea is interesting, though so far the project does not have contributions pouring in like Wikipedia does. You can add your own questions or answers; "user contributions to Solver questions and general questions [are] licensed under the CC BY-SA 4.0."

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Feds Operated Yet Another Secret Metadata Database Until 2013
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's problem-with-authority department:
A story at Ars Technica describes yet another Federal database of logged call details maintained by the Federal government which has now come to light, this one maintained by the Department of Justice rather than the NSA, and explains how it came to be discovered: [A] three-page partially-redacted affidavit from a top Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) official, which was filed Thursday, explained that the database was authorized under a particular federal drug trafficking statute. The law allows the government to use "administrative subpoenas" to obtain business records and other "tangible things." The affidavit does not specify which countries records were included, but specifically does mention Iran. ... This database program appears to be wholly separate from the National Security Agency’s metadata program revealed by Edward Snowden, but it targets similar materials and is collected by a different agency. The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported Friday that this newly-revealed program began in the 1990s and was shut down in August 2013. From elsewhere in the article:
"It’s now clear that multiple government agencies have tracked the calls that Americans make to their parents and relatives, friends, and business associates overseas, all without any suspicion of wrongdoing," [said ACLU lawyer Patrick Toomey]. "The DEA program shows yet again how strained and untenable legal theories have been used to secretly justify the surveillance of millions of innocent Americans using laws that were never written for that purpose."


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Innocent Adults Are Easy To Convince They Commited a Serious Crime
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's well-you-did-you-know department:
binarstu (720435) writes "Research recently published [link is to abstract only; full text requires subscription] in Psychological Science quantifies how easy it is to convince innocent, "normal" adults that they commited a crime. The Association for Psychological Science (APS) has posted a nice summary of the research. From the APS summary: "Evidence from some wrongful-conviction cases suggests that suspects can be questioned in ways that lead them to falsely believe in and confess to committing crimes they didn't actually commit. New research provides lab-based evidence for this phenomenon, showing that innocent adult participants can be convinced, over the course of a few hours, that they had perpetrated crimes as serious as assault with a weapon in their teenage years."

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's facts-are-stubborn-things department:
theodp writes Some of the world's leading Data Scientists are on the payrolls of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple. So, it'd be interesting to get their take on the infographics the tech giants have passed off as diversity data disclosures. Microsoft, for example, reported its workforce is 29% female, which isn't great, but if one takes the trouble to run the numbers on a linked EEO-1 filing snippet (PDF), some things look even worse. For example, only 23.35% of its reported white U.S. employee workforce is female (Microsoft, like Google, footnotes that "Gender data are global, ethnicity data are US only"). And while Google and Facebook blame their companies' lack of diversity on the demographics of U.S. computer science grads, CS grad and nationality breakouts were not provided as part of their diversity disclosures. Also, the EEOC notes that EEO-1 numbers reflect "any individual on the payroll of an employer who is an employee for purposes of the employers withholding of Social Security taxes," further muddying the disclosures of companies relying on imported talent, like H-1B visa dependent Facebook. So, were the diversity disclosure mea culpas less about providing meaningful data for analysis, and more about deflecting criticism and convincing lawmakers there's a need for education and immigration legislation (aka Microsoft's National Talent Strategy) that's in tech's interest?

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Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's some-animals-more-equal-than-others-by-jingo department:
According to an article at The Wall Street Journal, President Obama has sided with British Prime Minister David Cameron in saying that police and government agencies should not be blocked by encryption from viewing the content of cellphone or online communications, making the pro-spying arguments everyone has come to expect:

“If we find evidence of a terrorist plot and despite having a phone number, despite having a social media address or email address, we can’t penetrate that, that’s a problem,” Obama said. He said he believes Silicon Valley companies also want to solve the problem. “They’re patriots.” ... The president on Friday argued there must be a technical way to keep information private, but ensure that police and spies can listen in when a court approves. The Clinton administration fought and lost a similar battle during the 1990s when it pushed for a “clipper chip” that would allow only the government to decrypt scrambled messages.

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Ridley Scott Adapts Philip K. Dick's 'Man in the High Castle' For Amazon
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's changed-but-how-could-it-be-otherwise department:
An anonymous reader writes with word of an adaption of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. Ridley Scott is the executive producer for the adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel that's one of 13 new TV shows from Amazon Studios. There's also a video adaptation of The New Yorker magazine, and all 13 pilots are available free online. Votes of viewers will help decide which ones get picked up for a full season, and Amazon is promising customers that they've assembled "some of the greatest storytellers in the businesswith works of novelty and passion."

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What Africa Really Needs To Fight Ebola
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's infrastructure-matters department:
Lasrick writes Laura Kahn, a physician on the research staff of Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security, writes that the high tech solutions being promoted to help fight Ebola in Africa will make no difference. What Africa really needs is anti-corruption efforts, now. "A case in point is Liberia, which has received billions of dollars in international aid for over a decade, with little to show for it. The country ranks near the bottom of the United Nation's Human Development Index and near the bottom of Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer. And while international aid groups and non-governmental organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the International Medical Corps provide important humanitarian assistance and medical care, they also inadvertently absolve African political leaders from developing medical and public health infrastructures."

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Analysis Suggests Solar System Contains Massive Trans-Neptunian Objects
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's I'm-also-waiting-to-be-discovered department:
BarbaraHudson writes NBC News reports that at least two planets larger than Earth likely lurk far beyond Pluto, just waiting to be discovered, a new analysis of the orbits of "extreme trans-Neptunian objects" (ETNOs) suggests. The potential undiscovered worlds would be more massive than Earth and would lie about 200 AU or more from the sun — so far away that they'd be very difficult, if not impossible, to spot with current instruments. "The exact number is uncertain, given that the data that we have is limited, but our calculations suggest that there are at least two planets, and probably more, within the confines of our solar system," lead author Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, of the Complutense University of Madrid, said. (Here's the longer version at Space.com.)

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Silicon Valley Security Experts Give 'Blackhat' a Thumbs-Up; Do You?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-nothing-beats-wargames department:
HughPickens.com writes Cade Metz writes that last week Parisa Tabriz, head of Google's Chrome security team, helped arrange an early screening of Michael Mann's Blackhat in San Francisco for 200-odd security specialists from Google, Facebook, Apple, Tesla, Twitter, Square, Cisco, and other parts of Silicon Valley's close-knit security community, and their response to the film was shockingly positive. "Judging from the screening Q&A—and the pointed ways this audience reacted during the screening—you could certainly argue Blackhat is the best hacking movie ever made," writes Metz. "Many info-sec specialists will tell you how much they like Sneakers—the 1992 film with Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Ackroyd, Ben Kingsley, and River Phoenix—but few films have so closely hewed to info-sec reality as Mann's new movie, fashioned in his characteristic pseudo-documentary style." "Unlike others, this is a film about a real person, not a stereotype—a real guy with real problems thrust into a real situation," says Mark Abene. "The technology—and the disasters—in the film were real, or at least plausible.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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FCC May Permit Robocalls To Cell Phones -- If They Are Calling a Wrong Number
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-numbers-will-be-wrong-numbers department:
An anonymous reader writes There have been plenty of false rumors about cell phones being
opened up to telemarketers, but now the FCC is actually
considering it
. From the article: "Consumers have long had the support of government to try to
control these calls, chiefly through the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act, which actually allows consumers to file lawsuits and collect penalties
from companies that pepper them with robocalls or text messages
they didn't agree to receive. But now the Federal Communications Commission is considering
relaxing a key rule and allowing businesses to call or text your
cellphones without authorization if they say they called a wrong
number. The banking industry and collections industry are pushing
for the change." In one
case
recently, AT&T called one person 53 times after he
told them they had a wrong number...and ended up paying $45 million
to settle the case. Around 40 million phone numbers are "recycled" each year in the
U.S. Twice, I've had to dump a number and get a new one because
I was getting so many debt collection calls looking for someone
else. Apparently the FCC commissioners may not be aware of the
magnitude of the "wrong number" debt collection calls and aren't
aware that lots of people still have per-minute phone plans.
Anyone can file
comments
on this proposal with the FCC.


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FCC May Permit Robocalls To Cell Phones -- If They a Calling a Wrong Number
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '15 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-numbers-will-be-wrong-numbers department:
An anonymous reader writes There have been plenty of false rumors about cell phones being
opened up to telemarketers, but now the FCC is actually
considering it
. From the article: "Consumers have long had the support of government to try to
control these calls, chiefly through the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act, which actually allows consumers to file lawsuits and collect penalties
from companies that pepper them with robocalls or text messages
they didn't agree to receive. But now the Federal Communications Commission is considering
relaxing a key rule and allowing businesses to call or text your
cellphones without authorization if they say they called a wrong
number. The banking industry and collections industry are pushing
for the change." In one
case
recently, AT&T called one person 53 times after he
told them they had a wrong number...and ended up paying $45 million
to settle the case. Around 40 million phone numbers are "recycled" each year in the
U.S. Twice, I've had to dump a number and get a new one because
I was getting so many debt collection calls looking for someone
else. Apparently the FCC commissioners may not be aware of the
magnitude of the "wrong number" debt collection calls and aren't
aware that lots of people still have per-minute phone plans.
Anyone can file
comments
on this proposal with the FCC.


Read Replies (0)