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Australian Courts Will Be Able To See Your Browsing History
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 08:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's remember-that-slippery-slope-we-warned-you-about? department:
An anonymous reader writes A series of slips by the nation's top cop followed by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has made Australia's data retention bill even more of a potential horror than it seemed when it was introduced last week." Writes Richard Chirgwin in an article about Australia's new legislation.. "lawyers are already gathering, telling the ABC's PM program that metadata could be demanded in family law cases and insurance cases" it continues, with the inevitable result that your internet browsing history will be used against people trying to resist demands during divorce. "What's depressing is that Australians probably won't take to the streets about this issue.

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Ferguson No-Fly Zone Revealed As Anti-Media Tactic
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's pretty-damning-stuff department:
The AP (here, carried by the San Francisco Chronicle) reports that recorded conversations reveal flight restrictions requested in August by the police force of Ferguson, MO, and agreed to by Federal aviation safety officials, were specifically intended to limit the access of journalists to the area, rather than purely in response to safety concerns. One FAA manager in Kansas City was recorded saying police "did not care if you ran commercial traffic through this TFR (temporary flight restriction) all day long. They didn't want media in there."

"There is really ... no option for a [Temporary Flight Restriction] that says, you know, 'OK, everybody but the media is OK,'" he said. The managers then worked out wording they felt would keep news helicopters out of the controlled zone but not impede other air traffic.
The conversations contradict claims by the St. Louis County Police Department, which responded to demonstrations following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, that the restriction was solely for safety and had nothing to do with preventing media from witnessing the violence or the police response.
Police said at the time, and again as recently as late Friday to the AP, that they requested the flight restriction in response to shots fired at a police helicopter.
But police officials confirmed there was no damage to their helicopter and were unable to provide an incident report on the shooting. On the tapes, an FAA manager described the helicopter shooting as unconfirmed "rumors."


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Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's gifted-and-profoundly-sensitive department:
Goatbert writes with word that pianist Dejan Lazic, unhappy with the opinion of Post music critic Anne Midgette, "has asked the Washington Post to remove an old review from their site in perhaps the best example yet of why it is both a terrible ruling and concept."

It’s the first request The Post has received under the E.U. ruling. It’s also a truly fascinating, troubling demonstration of how the ruling could work. “To wish for such an article to be removed from the internet has absolutely nothing to do with censorship or with closing down our access to information,” Lazic explained in a follow-up e-mail to The Post. Instead, he argued, it has to do with control of one’s personal image — control of, as he puts it, “the truth.”

(Here is the 2010 review to which Lazic objects.)

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US Midterm Elections Discussion
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's mostly-I-vote-because-I-love-dark-humor department:
November 4th will be election day in the U.S. Though the presidential race is still forming, this midterm election has lots of close races that may give a hint about the likely outcome in 2016. Many pundits and pollsters see a strong chance that Republicans will gain a majority in the Senate in Tuesday's election. Think of the discussion attached to this post as the place to discuss the election: candidates, political advertising, voting technology, and the wisdom of voter ID laws. If you are voting, this chart of poll closing times might be useful. (And, as with the similar post from 10 years ago today, you can take a look at the current poll to see what the Zeitgeist looks like for Slashdot readers, and mentally fill in the past tense, if you're one of the many early voters; not much room in the poll question field.)

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Disney Patents a Piracy Free Search Engine
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that-cuts-out-a-bunch-of-disney-movies department:
wabrandsma writes with this excerpt from Torrentfreak: Disney has just obtained a patent for a search engine that ranks sites based on various "authenticity" factors. One of the goals of the technology is to filter pirated material from search results while boosting the profile of copyright and trademark holders' websites. A new patent awarded to Disney Enterprises this week describes a search engine through which pirated content is hard to find. Titled "Online content ranking system based on authenticity metric values for web elements," one of the patent's main goals is to prevent pirated movies and other illicit content from ranking well in the search results. According to Disney their patent makes it possible to "enable the filtering of undesirable search results, such as results referencing piracy websites." Disney believes that current search engines are using the wrong approach as they rely on a website's "popularity." This allows site owners to game the system in order to rank higher. "For example, a manipulated page for unauthorized sales of drugs, movies, etc. might be able to obtain a high popularity rating, but what the typical user will want to see is a more authentic page," they explain. Probabliy not a good place to look for a grey-market copy of Song of the South.

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Windows 8 and 8.1 Pass 15% Market Share, Windows XP Drops Below 20% Mark
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's trading-places department:
An anonymous reader writes Everyone is well-aware by now that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have not seen the impressive adoption rate of their predecessor. Yet the duo had a particularly good run last month, finally passing 15 percent market share together. Together, they owned 16.80 percent of the market at the end of October, up from 12.26 percent at the end of September. Windows XP meanwhile dropped a whopping 6.69 points to 17.18 percent. The biggest catalyst for these changes was most likely back to school sales in September, which are better reflected in the data after students use their new machines for a full month.

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How Google Can Get the Flu Right
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's spend-time-in-the-right-places department:
An anonymous reader writes Google Flu Trends was developed in 2009 to improve forecasts of flu levels in the U.S. by utilising Google search data. This early example showcased the potential which lies in the exploitation of human digital traces which all of us leave behind by using online services. The rise of Google Flu Trends was only stopped when the service dramatically overestimated the number of flu incidences recently. The fall raised questions about the value of online data for predictions in general. However, a study published yesterday demonstrates that it is not only about data but also about the adaptiveness of algorithms used for predictions. Scientists combined historic flu levels as reported by the CDC with Google Flu Trends data using an algorithmic framework which is able to adapt to changes in human search behaviour. Their results show that Google Flu Trends data sets significantly add information to the forecasts of current flu levels.

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Buying Goods To Make Nuclear Weapons On eBay, Alibaba, and Other Platforms
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-gotcher-centrifuges-we-gotcher-krytrons department:
Lasrick (2629253) writes The blossoming of online Internet-trading platforms has at least one downside: insufficient inspectors and product controls when it comes to goods relevant to nuclear proliferation. "On Alibaba (and other platforms), one can purchase many of the specialized items needed for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. A short list of items advertised for sale on the site include metals suitable for centrifuge manufacturing, gauges and pumps for centrifuge cascades for uranium enrichment, metallurgical casting equipment suitable for making nuclear weapon 'pits,' and high-speed cameras suitable for use in nuclear weapon diagnostic tests. A company on an Alibaba-owned Chinese Internet-trading platform even posted an ad for the sale of the rare metal gallium, which the seller trumpeted could be used to stabilize plutonium." Although many companies have strict compliance procedures in place to help avoid proliferation, many do not. There are several procedures these platforms can put into place to minimize risk, and both national (and international) regulators have a role to play, as well as shareholders.

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Ask Slashdot: How Useful Are DMARC and DKIM?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's survey-says department:
whoever57 writes How widely are DKIM and DMARC being implemented? Some time ago, Yahoo implemented strict checks on DKIM before accepting email, breaking many mailing lists. However, Spamassassin actually assigns a positive score (more likely to be spam) to DKIM-signed emails, unless the signer domain matches the from domain. Some email marketing companies don't provide a way for emails to be signed with the sender's domain — instead, using their own domain to sign emails. DMARC doesn't seem to have a delegation mechanism, by which a domain owner could delegate other domains as acceptable signatures for emails their emails. All of these issues suggest that the value of DKIM and DMARC is quite low, both as a mechanism to identify valid emails and as a mechanism to identify spam. In fact, spam is often dkim-signed.
Are Slashdot users who manage email delivery actually using DKIM and DMARC?


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UN Climate Change Panel: It's Happening, and It's Almost Entirely Man's Fault
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-fault department:
iONiUM writes The UN released a new climate change report which concludes that it is indeed happening, and it's almost entirely man's fault. From the article: "The IPCC was set up in 1988 to assess global warming and its impacts. The report released Sunday caps its latest assessment, a mega-review of 30,000 climate change studies that establishes with 95-percent certainty that nearly all warming seen since the 1950s is man-made." However, the report isn't entirely dire. It goes on to say: "To get a good chance of staying below 2C, the report's scenarios show that world emissions would have to fall by between 40 and 70 percent by 2050 from current levels and to 'near zero or below in 2100.'" Below zero of course means mining existing CO2 out of the atmopshere somehow.

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Denuvo DRM Challenges Game Crackers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-my-human-rights department:
jones_supa writes Now that the PC gaming community has grown very large, it has become only a matter of hours before the copy protection of a major AAA title is cracked and put up for download after its official release, or sometimes, even before. However, it looks like CI Games is having great luck with its recently launched next-gen video game known as Lords of the Fallen, as its PC DRM still remains uncracked now after 3 days of release. The DRM solution that the game uses comes from a copyright protection company known as Denuvo, and it is apparently the same one that has been used in FIFA 15, which is also yet uncracked. While this DRM has kept the game from being pirated until now, it has also been speculated that this solution is supposedly the main cause behind several in-game bugs and crashes that are affecting users' gameplay experience. To improve stability, the developer is working on a patch that is aimed at fixing all performance issues. It remains officially unconfirmed if the new DRM solution is really causing all the glitches.

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Is Public Debate of Trade Agreements Against the Public Interest?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-can-discuss-it-afterwards department:
onproton writes The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), currently being negotiated in secret, has been subject to numerous draft leaks that indicate these talks are potentially harmful to everything from public health to internet freedom. So why isn't the public involved, and why are the terms of the agreement being debated behind closed doors? According to New Zealand's current Trade Minister, Tim Groser, full disclosure of what is being discussed would likely lead to "public debate on an ill-informed basis before the deal has been done." Leaving one to question how revealing the full context and scope of the agreement talks would lead to an increase in misinformation rather than clarity.

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Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what's-your-paradigm? department:
An anonymous reader writes At the Washington Post, Brett Frischmann elaborates on the theory that the continuing flaw with the FCC's Net-Neutrality strategy lies in the perverse distinction between "End User" and "Edge Provider". Succinctly: "The key to an open Internet is nondiscrimination and in particular, a prohibition on discrimination or prioritization based on the identity of the user (sender/receiver) or use (application/content)," and then, "Who exactly are the end users that are not edge providers? In other words, who uses the Internet but does not provide any content, application, or service? The answer is no one. All end users provide content as they engage in communications with other end users, individually or collectively. ...
Think of all the startups and small businesses run from people's homes on home Internet connections, using WordPress tools or Amazon hosting services. Are they 'end users' when they email their friends but 'edge providers' when they switch windows to check their business metrics?"


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Will HP's $200 Stream 11 Make People Forget About Chromebooks?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's depends-on-one's-needs department:
theodp writes With an 11.6" screen, Windows 8.1, and free Office 365 for a year, the $199.99 solid-state HP Stream 11 laptop is positioned to make people think twice about Chromebooks (add $30 for the HP Stream 13). But will it? "The HP Stream 11 is clearly both inexpensive and a great value," writes Paul Thurrott. "At just $200, it's cheap, of course. But it also features a solid-feeling construction, a bright and fun form factor, a surprisingly high-quality typing experience and a wonderful screen. This isn't a bargain bin throwaway. The Stream 11 is something special." The HP Stream Family also includes the HP Stream 7, a $99.99 Windows 8.1 Tablet that includes the Office 365 deal. By the way, at the other end of the price spectrum, HP has introduced the Sprout, which Fast Company calls a bold and weird PC that's bursting at the seams with new ideas, from 3-D scanning to augmented reality. (We mentioned the Sprout a few days ago, too; HP seems to be making some interesting moves lately, looks like they're getting on the smartwatch bandwagon, too.) If you're looking at the Stream as a cheap platform for OSes other than Windows, be cautious: one of the reviews at the Amazon page linked describes trouble getting recent Linux distributions to install.

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Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '14 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-worked-up-about-a-false-dichotomy department:
rudy_wayne writes with this opinion piece at Wired published in the wake of the crash of SpaceShipTwo, which calls the project nothing more than a "millionaire boondoggle thrill ride." A selection:

SpaceShipTwo is not a Federation starship. It's not a vehicle for the exploration of frontiers. Virgin Galactic is building the world's most expensive roller coaster, the aerospace version of Beluga caviar. It's a thing for rich people to do. Testing new aircraft takes a level of courage and ability beyond most humans. Those engineers and pilots are at the peak of human achievement. What they're doing is amazing. Why Virgin is doing it is not. When various corporate representatives eulogize those two pilots as pioneers who were helping to cross the Final Frontier, that should make you angry. That pilot died not for space but for a luxury service provider. His death doesn't get us closer to Mars; it just keeps rich people further away from weightlessness and a beautiful view.

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Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '14 at 10:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's aesthetics-and-morals department:
LuxuryYacht writes A new study shows that the way your brain responds to photos of of maggots, mutilated carcasses, and gunk in the kitchen sink gives a pretty good indication of whether you're liberal or conservative. "Remarkably, we found that the brain's response to a single disgusting image was enough to predict an individual's political ideology," Read Montague, a Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute psychology professor who led the study, said in a written statement. 83 men and women viewed a series of images while having their brains scanned in a functional MRI (fMRI) machine. The images included the disgusting photos described above, along with photos of babies and pleasant landscapes. Afterward, the participants were asked to rate how grossed out they were by each photo. They also completed a survey about their political beliefs, which included questions about their attitudes toward school prayer, gun control, immigration, and gay marriage. There was no significant difference in how liberals and conservatives rated the photos. But the researchers noted differences between the two groups in the activity of brain regions associated with disgust recognition, emotion regulation, attention and even memory. The differences were so pronounced that the researchers could analyze a scan and predict the person's political leaning with 95 percent accuracy.

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Rhode Island Comic Con Oversold, Overcrowded
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '14 at 07:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-says-the-fire-marshall department:
New submitter RobertJ1729 writes The Rhode Island Comic Con (RICC) is in the middle of a complete meltdown as hundreds are turned away at the door or denied reentry due to the event organizers selling far more tickets than the venue can accomodate. The Providence Journal reports that "According to Providence Fire Chief David Soscia, too many people were being let in at a time and the organizers were not correctly counting them. That led to over-congested areas in the building which has a maximum capacity of 17,000 people." Meanwhile the Rhode Island Comic Con Facebook page is being flooded with comments from angry attendees describing chaos both inside and out of the convention center. RICC initially posted, "Hello RICC fans! WE ARE NOT OVERSOLD!," and promised to honor tomorrow tickets sold for today. That post generated several hundred angry comments before eventually being deleted (though it survives in part on RICC's twitter feed). Commenters are alleging that RICC is deleting negative Facebook comments. Users are tweeting at #ricomicconfail2014 to vent their frustration.

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Video Raises Doubts About Attkisson's Claims of Malicious Hacking
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '14 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-can-be-differentially-wrong department:
Was former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson's computer hacked? Earlier claims that it was are being scoffed at by some security experts, after looking at cellphone video she has released intended to demonstrate that an intruder was deleting files. The video, say various commentators, may instead just indicate a stuck or faulty backspace key. It could be that both things are true (a stuck backspace key, as well as malicious intrusion targeting Attkisson for her political reporting), but it would be helpful to know more of the details on which CBS's (unnamed) hired experts concluded that her machine was breached.

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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '14 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's I-have-an-opinion department:
New submitter gbcox writes links to this article about how the switch to Daylight Saving Time can be dangerous, but writes Personally, I favor year 'round DST — I like the extra sunlight in the evening... but regardless, I just wish we'd pick one and stop futzing with the time twice a year. As it is right now, we only have about 4 months of standard time as it is... is it really worth the effort to switch the clocks for only four months? I think not. Where do you stand? If you have a strong opinion, it would be nice if you start your subject line in comments with "For it!" or "Against it!" If you think that the yearly clock-shifting is a good idea, when do you think each shift should occur?

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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '14 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's would-like-one-of-these-immediately department:
New submitter mlamonica writes Bikes are a great way to get around the city. But what if it's just too hilly or far to commute by bike? That's where Superpedestrian wants to come in. With a license from MIT's Senseable City Lab, they're commercializing the Copenhagen Wheel, a bike wheel replacement that gives riders electric assist, and through 12 embedded sensors, lots of information on a smart phone app. I took the bike for a ride at the Cambridge office and offer this review.

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