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Canadian Climate Scientist Wins Defamation Suit Against National Post
Posted by News Fetcher on February 07 '15 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's conclusions-in-advance department:
Layzej writes A leading Canadian climate scientist has been awarded $50,000 in a defamation suit against The National Post newspaper. Andrew Weaver sued the Post over four articles published between December 2009 and February 2010. The articles contain "grossly irresponsible falsehoods that have gone viral on the Internet," and they "poison" the debate over climate change, Weaver asserted in a statement at the time the suit was filed. The judge agreed, concluding "the defendants have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts. As evident from the testimony of the defendants, they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts."

This is the first of several law suits launched by climate scientists against journalists who have published alleged libels and falsehoods. Climate scientist Ben Santer suggests the following explanation for these types of defamations: "if you can't attack the underlying science, you go after the scientist."


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The Man Who Invented the Science Fiction Paperback
Posted by News Fetcher on February 07 '15 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's debt-of-gratitude department:
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Clay Latimer writes at IBD that Ian Ballantine, called by many the father of the mass-market paperback, helped change American reading habits in the 1940s and '50s founding no fewer than three prestigious paperback houses — Penguin USA, Bantam Books and Ballantine Books. But Ballantine's greatest influence on mass culture was publishing science-fiction paperback originals, with writers including Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Theodore Sturgeon, and Frederik Pohl and publishing the first authorized paperback editions of J.R.R. Tolkien's books. "These were great classics of world fiction," says Loren Glass. "He published in original form some of the greatest works in the golden age of science fiction. One of the interesting things about Ballantine is that he was not only a businessman trying to make money in books; he was a student of literature and publishing, and something of an intellectual."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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How To Hack a BMW: Details On the Security Flaw That Affected 2.2 Million Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on February 07 '15 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ultimate-something-machine department:
0x2A (548071) writes BMW recently fixed a security hole in their ConnectedDrive software, which left 2.2 million cars open to remote attacks. Security expert Dieter Spaar reverse engineered the system and found some serious flaws [note: if you'd prefer English to German, try this translation], including using the same symmetric keys in all vehicles, not encrypting messages between the car and the BMW backend or using the outdated DES.

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Employees In Swedish Office Complex Volunteer For RFID Implants For Access
Posted by News Fetcher on February 07 '15 at 02:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-for-all-the-butter-in-smaland department:
Lucas123 writes A Swedish office building is enabling corporate tenants to implant RFID chips into employee's hands in order to gain access through security doors and use services such as photocopiers. The employees working at Epicenter, a 15,000-square-foot building in Stockholm, can even pay for lunch with a swipe of their hand. Hannes Sjöblad, founder of Bionyfiken, a Swedish association of Biohackers, said Epicenter is not alone in a movement to experiment with uses for implanted chips that use RFID/NFC technology. There are also several other offices, companies, gyms and education institutions in Stockholm where people access the facilities with implanted chips. Bionyfiken just began a nationwide study using volunteers implanted with RFID/NFC. "It's a small, but indeed fast-growing, fraction which has chosen to try it out." The goal of the Bionyfiken project is to create a user community of at least 100 people with RFID implants who experiment with and help develop possible uses. But, not everyone is convinced it's a good idea.

John Kindervag, a principal security and privacy analyst at Forrester Research, said RFID/NFC chip implants are simply "scary" and pose a major threat to privacy and security. The fact that the NFC can't be shielded like a fob or chip in a credit card can with a sleeve means it can be activated without the user's knowledge, and information can be accessed. "I think it's pretty scary that people would want to do that [implant chips]," Kindervag said.


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Facebook Will Soon Be Able To ID You In Any Photo
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-shall-call-it-facebook department:
sciencehabit writes Appear in a photo taken at a protest march, a gay bar, or an abortion clinic, and your friends might recognize you. But a machine probably won't — at least for now. Unless a computer has been tasked to look for you, has trained on dozens of photos of your face, and has high-quality images to examine, your anonymity is safe. Nor is it yet possible for a computer to scour the Internet and find you in random, uncaptioned photos. But within the walled garden of Facebook, which contains by far the largest collection of personal photographs in the world, the technology for doing all that is beginning to blossom.

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How a Hardware Designer Was Saved By His Own Creation
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's if-you-don't-like-this-you-have-no-heart department:
szczys writes Would you do a better job designing hardware if your life depended on it? Chris Nefcy is in that exact position. Years ago he developed an Automatic External Defibrilator for First Medic. The device allows non-doctors to restart a human heart in the field. When Chris had a heart attack his ticker was restarted with shocks from his own hardware. His story isn't just heartwarming, he also covers the path that led him into developing the AED and the bumpy road encountered getting the hardware to market.

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Verizon Sells Off Wireline Operations, Blames Net Neutrality Plans
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 06:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's seems-a-reasonable-reason department:
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Verizon Communications will sell its local wireline operations in California, Florida and Texas for $10.5 billion, citing uncertainty around federal Internet regulation as one reason for the move, although Verizon executives said the sale has been in the works for several years. It's no secret that local wireline phone service has been a shrinking industry, and Verizon and other carriers see mobile as their greatest growth opportunity. Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam cited the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming net neutrality proposal as another potential threat to the growth of wired services. 'Washington should be very thoughtful how they go forward here,' he said. 'This uncertainty is not good for investment, and it's not good for jobs here in America.'"

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TurboTax Halts E-filing of State Tax Returns Because of Potential Fraud
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's tis-the-season department:
mpicpp writes with this news from Marketwatch: Intuit, the parent company of TurboTax, has stopped e-filing all state tax returns due to increased suspicion of fraud. The company says it is investigating criminal attempts to use stolen data to file fraudulent returns and claim refunds, after hearing concerns from a handful of states, Intuit spokeswoman Diane Carlini told MarketWatch. After a preliminary examination with security experts, Intuit believes its systems weren't breached, but crooks may have used TurboTax software to file fraudulent returns after stealing identities, she said. Intuit said in a release that "the information used to file fraudulent returns was obtained from other sources outside the tax preparation process." The company called pausing e-filings to states a "precautionary step." Utah, the first state to reach out to Intuit, issued a notice Thursday saying the state tax commission has discovered 28 fraud attempts that "originate from data compromised through a third-party commercial tax preparation software process," as well as 8,000 returns flagged as potentially fraudulent.

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Kickstarted Firefox OS HDMI Dongle Delayed, DRM Support Being Added
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's surprise! department:
An anonymous reader writes: You may recall last September when Mozilla and a new company named Matchstick announced a Kickstarter project for a new device that would compete with Google's Chromecast. It was an HDMI dongle for streaming media that runs on Firefox OS. They easily quadrupled their $100,000 funding goal, and estimated a ship date of February, 2015. Well, they emailed backers today to say that the Matchstick's release is being pushed back to August. They list a few reasons for the delay. For one, they want to upgrade some of the hardware: they're swapping the dual-core CPU for a quad-core model, and they're working on the Wi-Fi antenna to boost reception. But on the software side, the biggest change they mention is that they're adding support for DRM. This is a bit of a surprise, since all they said on the Kickstarter about DRM was that they hoped it would be handled "either via the playback app itself or the OS." Apparently this wasn't possible, so they're implementing Microsoft PlayReady tech on the Matchstick.

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MPAA Considers Major Changes After Sony Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's changing-things-up department:
Earthquake Retrofit shares this story about changes that may be coming to the MPAA prompted by the Sony hack. "Fissures revealed by the hacking at Sony Pictures Entertainment have raised the prospect of profound change at one of Hollywood's oldest institutions: the Motion Picture Association of America. In a behind-the-scenes drama, the Sony Pictures chairman, Michael Lynton, last month told industry colleagues of a plan to withdraw from the movie trade organization, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions. He cited the organization’s slow response and lack of public support in the aftermath of the attack on Sony and its film The Interview, as well as longstanding concerns about the cost and efficacy of the group. Reversing course in mid-January, as the Oscar nominations were being announced, Mr. Lynton stayed in. But he and other studio executives are now discussing proposals that could alter the structure, mandate and governance of a 93-year-old organization that has been the policy front for Hollywood’s major film studios."

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Why It's Important That the New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's they-hope department:
tedlistens writes: To tackle the chicken-and-egg problem faced by the Windows Phone or Blackberry — you need an app ecosystem to gain market share, but you need market share in order to entice developers to your platform — Canonical, the creators of the free, open-source Linux-based OS Ubuntu, have taken a novel approach with their new phone, which will be launched in Europe next week: The phone — the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, made with Spanish manufacturers BQ — won't feature apps. Instead, it will have a new user experience paradigm called Scopes. These are "essentially contextual home-screen dashboards that will be much simpler and less time-consuming to develop than full-on native apps." For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two. The user experience, writes Jay Cassano at Fast Company, seems a lot more intuitive than the "app grids" that dominate most devices.

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Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 Will Be Rolling-Release
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rollin'-rollin'-rollin',-keep-them-penguins-rollin' department:
jones_supa writes: Following the trend of rolling-release Linux distributions, Linux Mint brings you some news and information about Linux Mint Debian Edition 2, aka. "Betsy." As you might know, the Linux Mint team maintains two distributions: Linux Mint and LMDE. LMDE was a rolling distro for a while and eventually turned into a semi-rolling one. This was good at the time but it also presented challenges: the biggest issue in LMDE was the fact that it required a lot more maintenance than Linux Mint but that it had far less users. This hurt the frequency of updates it received but also the quality of the distribution. Now, LMDE 2 is going back to be continuously upgraded and to occasionally just receive media refresh ISO images. You can check the Roadmap to see the remaining issues. As the quality of Betsy is getting higher and higher, the project is getting closer to QA stage to iron out the bugs and perform proper testing.

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CrunchBang Linux Halts Development
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-good-things department:
An anonymous reader writes: Philip Newborough, the developer behind CrunchBang Linux, has put an end to work on the distro. CrunchBang was built as a layer on top of Debian using the Openbox window manager that focused on performance and customization. Newborough says the changing landscape of Linux over the past decade has obviated the need for a distro like CrunchBang. "Whilst some things have stayed exactly the same, others have changed beyond all recognition. It's called progress, and for the most part, progress is a good thing. That said, when progress happens, some things get left behind, and for me, CrunchBang is something that I need to leave behind. I'm leaving it behind because I honestly believe that it no longer holds any value, and whilst I could hold on to it for sentimental reasons, I don't believe that would be in the best interest of its users, who would benefit from using vanilla Debian."

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Firefox Succeeded In Its Goal -- But What's Next?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's building-actual-foxes-made-of-fire department:
trawg writes: It's been more than 10 years since Mozilla released version 1.0 of Firefox, one of their first steps in their mission to 'preserve choice and innovation on the Internet'. Firefox was instrumental in shattering the web monoculture, but the last few years of development have left users uninspired. "Their goal was never to create the most popular browser in the world, or the one with the best UX, or the one with the most features, or the one with the best developer mode. ... It would be foolish to say a monoculture will never arise again (Google are making some scary moves with Chrome-only web applications). But at this point in time while Chrome is the ascendant browser (largely at the expense of Firefox), Mozilla’s ability to impact the web in general is greatly reduced." Perhaps it is time to move on to the next challenge — ensuring there is a strong Thunderbird to help preserve a free and open email ecosystem.

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Ask Slashdot: With Whom Do You Entrust Your Long Term Data?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's in-cloud-we-trust department:
jppiiroinen writes: F-Secure, a company based in Finland, has sold its cloud storage business to a U.S. company (Synchronoss Technologies, Inc) speculated to have ties to the NSA. In previous, public announcements, they used arguments equivalent to, "trust us, your data will be safe." Now, it's likely F-Secure simply realized that competing against the big players, such as Google and Dropbox, didn't make much sense.

But it makes me wonder: Whom do you trust with your data? And who really owns it? What about in 3-6 years from now? How should I make sure that I retain access to today's data 20 years from now? Is storing things locally even a reasonable option for most people? I have a lot of floppies and old IDE disks from the 90s around here, but no means to access them, and some of the CDs and DVDs has gone bad as well.


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Students Demo Firefighting Humanoid Robot On US Navy Ship
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 11:46 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's terminating-fires department:
An anonymous reader sends this report from Robohub: In fall 2014 in Mobile Bay, Alabama, Virginia Tech engineering students made history during a five-minute demo that placed an adult-sized humanoid robot with a hose in front of a live fire aboard a U.S. Navy ship.The robot located the fire and sprayed water from the hose. Water blasted the flames. The demo, four years in the making, is part of a new effort by the U.S. Navy to better assist sailors in fighting fires, controlling damage, and carrying out inspections aboard ships via user-controlled unmanned craft or humanoid robots. The firefighting robot is named SAFFiR, short for Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, and the U.S. Office of Naval Research envisions a future — long off, but tangible — in which every ship has a robot as a tool for firefighters.

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The Search For Neutrons That Leak Into Our World From Other Universes
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why-you-always-stain-before-putting-on-the-finish department:
KentuckyFC writes: One of the more exciting predictions from "braneworld" theories of high energy physics is that matter can leak out of other universes into our own, and vice versa. The basic idea is that our three-dimensional universe or brane is embedded in a much larger multi-dimensional cosmos. These branes can become coupled so that a quantum particle such as a neutron can exist in a superposition of states in both universes at the same time. When the neutron collides with something, the superposition collapses and the particle must suddenly exist in one brane or the other. That means neutrons from our universe can leak into other branes and then back again. Now physicists are devising an experiment to look for this neutron leakage. They plan to put a well shielded neutron detector next to a shielded nuclear reactor that produces neutrons at a research facility in France. All this shielding means the detector should not see any neutrons from inside the reactor. However, if the neutrons are leaking into another brane and then back into our world, they can bypass this shielding and trigger the detector. The team has not yet set a date for the experiment but the discovery of neutrons (or anything else) leaking into our universe would be huge.

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Automakers Move Toward OTA Software Upgrades
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's granted-features-like-a-wizard department:
Lucas123 writes: While some carmakers today offer over-the-air software upgrades to navigation maps and infotainment head units, Tesla became the first last week to perform a powertrain upgrade overnight. But as the industry begins adopting internal vehicle bus standards with greater bandwidth and more robust security, experts believe vehicle owners will no longer be required to visit dealerships or perform downloads to USB sticks. IHS predicts that in the next three to five years, most, if not all automakers, will offer fully fledged OTA software-enabled platforms that encompass upgrades to every vehicle system — from infotainment, safety, comfort, and powertrain. First, however, carmakers must deploy more open OS platforms, remove hardened firewalls between vehicle ECUs, and deploy networking topologies such as Ethernet, with proven security.

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Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sensitive-topics department:
HughPickens.com writes: Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post that Fox News recently took the controversial step of posting a horrific 22-minute video online that shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death. Fox warned internet users that the presentation features "extremely graphic video." "After careful consideration, we decided that giving readers of FoxNews.com the option to see for themselves the barbarity of ISIS outweighed legitimate concerns about the graphic nature of the video," said Fox executive John Moody. "Online users can choose to view or not view this disturbing content."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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GnuPG Gets Back On Track With Funding
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pulling-together department:
jones_supa writes: Soon after the poor state of the GnuPG was unveiled, the online community has rallied to help Werner Koch. He wanted to hire a full-time programmer to work on the project alongside him and to ensure that he's not living on the brink of bankruptcy all the time. Immediately after the article was published, it was revealed that he got a one-time grant of $60,000 from the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative. Also, the community donated over $150,000, and Facebook and Stripe have each pledged to provide $50,000 per year. All in all, it looks like Werner Koch won't be worried about funding for quite some time. The problem remains: it's very likely that other projects just as important as this one are probably facing the same kind of issues, but it would be nice to hear about them before they get in trouble, and not after.

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