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Adobe's Digital Editions Collecting Less Data, Says EFF
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's less-spying-same-great-taste department:
itwbennett writes Tests on the latest version of Adobe System's e-reader software shows the company is now collecting less data following a privacy-related dustup last month, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Adobe was criticized in early October after it was discovered Digital Editions collected metadata about e-books on a device, even if the e-books did not have DRM. Those logs were also sent to Adobe in plain text. Digital Editions version 4.0.1 appears to only collect data on e-books that have DRM (Digital Rights Management), writes Cooper Quintin, a staff technologist with the EFF.

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Dance Your Ph.D. Winner Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-dance department:
sciencehabit writes When she isn't out in the forest gathering data for her Ph.D. in plant biology at the University of Georgia, Athens, Uma Nagendra spends a good deal of her time hanging upside down from a trapeze doing circus aerials. "It turns out that there are a lot of scientists doing it," she says. To combine the two halves of her life, she teamed up with her fellow aerialists to create the midair dance based on her scientific research. Nagendra's circus extravaganza is the overall winner of this year's "Dance Your Ph.D." contest.

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Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's life-is-the-bubbles department:
HughPickens.com writes "The Pentland Firth is a raw, stormy sound between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands, known for some of the world's fastest flowing marine waters. Daily tides here reach 11 miles per hour, and can go as high as 18 – a breakneck current that's the reason people are describing Scotland as the Saudi Arabia of tidal power. Now Megan Garber reports in The Atlantic that a new tidal power plant, to be installed off the Scottish coast aims to make the Scotland a world leader for turning sea flow into electricity. Underwater windmills, the BBC notes, have the benefit of invisibility—a common objection to wind turbines being how unsightly they are to human eyes. Undersea turbines also benefit from the fact that tides are predictable in ways that winds are not: You know how much power you're generating, basically, on any given day. The tidal currents are also completely carbon-free and since sea water is 832 times denser than air, a 5 knot ocean current has more kinetic energy than a 350 km/h wind.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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The 7th Underhanded C Contest Is Online
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's back-again department:
Xcott Craver writes The 7th Underhanded C Contest is now open. The goal of the contest is to write code that is as readable, clear, innocent and straightforward as possible, and yet somehow exhibits evil behavior that cannot be seen even when staring at the source code. The winners from 2013 are also online, and their clever and insightful submissions make for fun reading.

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Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's going-the-other-way department:
phantomfive writes Silicon Valley is making a mark in Washington as Google has recently replaced Goldman as the largest lobbyist, but until recently, most of the money in from Silicon Valley went to democratic candidates. In 2014, that has changed, and Republicans are getting most of the money. Why the change? Gordon Crovitz suggests it's because Harry Reid blocked patent reform. Reid gets a large chunk of donations from trial lawyers, who oppose the reform.

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Japan's Annual Nuclear Drill Highlights Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deja-vu-all-over-again department:
AmiMoJo writes The Japanese government's disaster drill for nuclear power plants has highlighted some issues. The 2-day drill began on Sunday on the scenario that an earthquake had triggered an accident at the Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture. A group of residents gathered at a port to flee in boats on the assumption that the earthquake had made roads unusable. But the sea was too rough to sail, and officials had not considered an alternative in case of bad weather. Participating organizations were connected via a video link, but there were problems with the sound. Officials at the Toyama Prefectural government office could not hear part of the evacuation order.

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Chinese Hackers Mess With Texas By Attacking Fracking Firms
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's secrets-to-success department:
chicksdaddy writes The technology revolution that is "fracking" has created billions in wealth for states like Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio and Wyoming. But all that oil and all those dollars have attracted the attention of sophisticated spies from near and far to steal valuable trade secrets. Digital Guardian's blog notes this report from News 4 San Antonio in Texas which quotes local FBI officials saying they are "very concerned" about theft of trade secrets from companies engaged in "fracking" in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas. "It's corporate espionage, there's no question about it," said Christopher Combs of the San Antonio FBI. "Foreign governments or foreign companies are looking for any competitive advantage. Whether it's the widget that you use to drill, or it's a process that you use to track inventory better. They're really looking at the company as a whole to find out every little thing that you do that makes you a better company on the world market." Combs declined to name specific firms, but said that Chinese firms are "aggressively" engaged in industrial espionage. However, the problem isn't limited to China. Companies with ties to governments that are U.S. allies are believed to be conducting espionage against innovative US firms as well.

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SpaceShipTwo's Rocket Engine Did Not Cause Fatal Crash
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 06:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pilot-error department:
astroengine writes It wasn't SpaceShipTwo's hybrid rocket motor — which was flying on Friday with a new type of fuel — that caused the fatal crash, the head of the accident investigation agency said late Sunday. The ship's fuel tanks and its engine were recovered intact, indicating there was no explosion. "They showed no signs of burn-through, no signs of being breached," Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation and Safety Board, told reporters at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. Instead, data and video relayed from the ship show its hallmark safety feature — a foldable tail section designed for easy re-entry into the atmosphere from space — was deployed early, causing the in-flight break-up.

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Amazon Releases (Not Many) Details On Its Workforce Demographics
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-many-people-do-you-employ? department:
theodp (442580) writes Late to the table on disclosing workforce demographics, Amazon posted a diversity report to its website on Halloween, revealing that its global work force is 63% male and 37% female, while in the U.S., its work force is 60% white, 15% black, 13% Asian and 9% Hispanic. More lacking in granular detail than the less-than-transparent diversity data provided by its tech peers, Rainbow PUSH said Amazon's numbers were not as good as they appeared, and criticized the company for a lack of candor. "Their general work force data released by Amazon seems intentionally deceptive, as the company did not include the race or gender breakout of their technical work force," PUSH said in a statement. "The broad assumption is that a high percentage of their black and Latino employees work in their warehouses." Following the lead of other tech companies, Diversity at Amazon suggests the e-tailer's undisclosed-but-presumed lack of tech diversity could be blamed on "female students and students of color [who] are opting out of technology and engineering" as early as middle school and high school. Taking a page from Google's playbook, Amazon pointed to its involvement with the Anita Borg Institute, Code.org, Girls Who Code, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology as ways the company's addressing tech diversity deficiencies.

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YouTube Opens Up 60fps To Everyone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 03:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bottlenecks-shift department:
jones_supa writes Four months ago YouTube promised support for 60 frames per second videos. Back then, the feature was limited to some selected demonstration clips. Now the capability to upload 60fps videos has been opened to everyone. By searching YouTube, a lot of interesting high-FPS material can already be found. For now, some caveats apply though. To watch the clips at 60fps you currently need to use Chrome (further browser support is on the way) and be sure to select 720p60 or 1080p60 from the settings menu of the video player. A fair amount of decoding power is also required, so you will need good hardware. In addition, YouTube says that the content format will be only available on "motion-intense" videos, and the average cat video may not be detected as such. Of course gaming will be the most obvious genre that can take advantage of the higher frame rate.

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China To Merge High-Speed Train Makers To Cut Competition
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 12:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-argue-economics department:
hackingbear writes China has two high-speed train makers, the China Northern Railcar Corp. (CNR) and China Southern Railcar Corp. (CSR). Despite both being state-owned companies, the two are really competing with each other in the international high-speed train market, undercutting prices. Now, the Chinese government is set to fix that by asking the two to merge. [More details in a paywalled article at the Wall Street Journal.] Such a deal also would raise questions about China's determination to enforce monopoly laws that have been under a microscope in recent months as foreign companies including dairy makers, car makers including Volkswagen AG 's Audi, and technology companies Microsoft Corp. and Qualcomm Corp. have been investigated by antitrust authorities. However, as we haven't been complaining about China's low prices hurting our business, shouldn't China raising the price be good for other train makers?

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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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