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As Domestic Abuse Goes Digital, Shelters Turn To Counter-surveillance With Tor
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's finding-new-ways-to-hide department:
An anonymous reader writes "Almost every modern abusive relationship has a digital component, from cyberstalking to hacking phones, emails, and social media accounts, but women's shelters increasingly have found themselves on the defensive, ill-equipped to manage and protect their clients from increasingly sophisticated threats. Recently the Tor Project stepped in to help change that. Andrew Lewman, executive director of the project, 'thinks of the digital abuse epidemic like a doctor might consider a biological outbreak. "Step one, do not infect yourself. Step two, do not infect others, especially your co-workers. Step three, help others," he said. In the case of digital infections, like any other, skipping those first two steps can quickly turn caretakers into infected liabilities. For domestic violence prevention organizations that means ensuring their communication lines stay uncompromised. And that means establishing a base level of technology education for staff with generally little to no tech chops who might not understand the gravity of clean communication lines until faced with a situation where their own phone or email gets hacked.'"

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Controlling Fear By Modifying DNA
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's turning-somebody-into-one-of-the-x-men-would-also-subdue-fear department:
An anonymous reader writes "The fear of flying or of skittering spiders can mean more than just a momentary increase in heart rate and a pair of sweaty palms. A hard-core phobia can lead to crippling anxiety. Now an international team of researchers says it believes it has found a way to silence the gene that feeds phobic fear via a novel mechanism of gene regulation associated with fear extinction. The notion appears to be that phobias arise from experiences that have left an outsized imprint on gene expression, and that undoing this can undo the anxiety itself. The study was published this month (abstract) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

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The Strange Death of Comet Ison
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's need-better-space-cameras department:
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Last year, astronomers announced that a small ball of ice and rock heading towards the inner Solar System could turn out to be the most eye-catching comet in living memory. They calculated that Comet Ison's orbit would take it behind the Sun but that it would then head towards Earth where it would put on a spectacular display of heavenly fireworks. Sure enough, Ison brightened dramatically as it headed Sunwards. But as astronomers watched on the evening of 28 November, the brightly flaring Ison moved behind the Sun but never emerged. The comet simply disappeared. Now a new analysis of the death of Ison suggests that the comet was doomed long before it reached the Sun. Images from several Sun-observing spacecraft that had a unique view of events, indicate that Ison exhausted its supply of water and other ice in the final flare-ups as it approached the Sun. The new study shows that all that was left in its last hours were a few hundred thousands pebbles glowing brightly as they vaporized in the Sun's heat. In fact, Comet Ison died in full view of the watching hordes of astronomers on Earth who did not realize what they were watching at the time."

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First Transistors Made Entirely of 2-D Materials
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's powered-by-scotch-tape department:
ckwu (2886397) writes "Two independent research groups report the first transistors built entirely of two-dimensional electronic materials, making the devices some of the thinnest yet. The transistors, just a few atoms thick and hence transparent, are smaller than their silicon-based counterparts, which would allow for a super-high density of pixels in flexible, next-generation displays. The research teams, one at Argonne National Laboratory and the other at the University of California, Berkeley, used materials such as tungsten diselenide, graphene, and boron nitride to make all three components of a transistor: a semiconductor, a set of electrodes, and an insulating layer. Electrons travel in the devices 70 to 100 times faster than in amorphous silicon. Such a high electron mobility means the transistors switch faster, which dictates a display's refresh rate and is necessary for high-quality video, especially 3-D video."

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TLS 1.3 Draft Prepares to Drop Static RSA Key Exchange
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 08:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's forward-secrecy-for-all department:
msm1267 (2804139) writes with a bit of news from last week that seems to have slipped under the radar. The IETF TLS working group has reached consensus on dropping static RSA cipher suites from TLS 1.3, instead requiring the use of Diffie-Hellman Exchange (or the faster ellipitic curve variant). Static DH and not just ephemeral DH key exchange will be supported, so not all connections will have forward secrecy. The consensus is subject to change before the final TLS 1.3 specification is released, and there are still details to be worked out. The changes to the draft are pending as a git pull request.

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Ben Starr Answers Your Questions About Sustainability and Kitchen Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's your-answers-are-served department:
Last week you had the chance to ask chef, travel writer, reality TV star, and all around food geek Ben Starr about sustainable farming, brewing, and building the perfect kitchen. Read below to see what he had to say.

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4chan Launches '$20 Bug Bounty' After Hackers Ruin moot's Day
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's it-took-this-long? department:
mask.of.sanity (1228908) writes "4chan's founder Moot has launched a bug bounty for the site after it was hacked, but is offering a meager $20 in 'self-serve ad spend' for all bugs. The bounty program was launched after the website and Moot's Amazon accounts were hacked. The intrusion spelled the end for DrawQuest which was closed after Moot decided it was not worth spending money to ensure the unprofitable but popular drawing platform was secure."

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Russia Quietly Passes Anti-Blogger Law
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-in-time-for-cold-war-2.0 department:
randomErr (172078) writes "Russia is tightening its grip on free speech and freedom of the Internet by creating a new 'bloggers law'. This policy follows the pattern set by China, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran."

Any site with more than 3000 daily visitors will be required to register and be held to a number of restrictions, quoting the article: "Besides registering, bloggers can no longer remain anonymous online, and organizations that provide platforms for their work such as search engines, social networks and other forums must maintain computer records on Russian soil of everything posted over the previous six months."

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Google Announces "Classroom"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's anything-is-better-than-blackboard department:
theodp (442580) writes "Meet your new 'Room Mom', kids! On Tuesday, Google announced a preview of Classroom, a new, free tool in the Google Apps for Education suite. From the announcement: 'With Classroom, you'll be able to: [1] Create and collect assignments: Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly. They can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback to individual students. [2] Improve class communications: Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class. [3] Stay organized: Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what's due on their Assignments page.'

Addressing privacy concerns, Google reassures teachers, 'We know that protecting your students' privacy is critical. Like the rest of our Apps for Education services, Classroom contains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes, and is free for schools.' After the recent torpedoing of Bill Gates' $100M inBloom initiative, Google might want to have a privacy pitch ready for parents, too!"


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GitHub Open Sources Atom, Their Text Editor Based On Chromium
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's emacs-does-it-better department:
First time accepted submitter aojensen (1503269) writes "GitHub hahas made good on promises to open source Atom, a programmer's text editor based on Chromium. Atom is released under the MIT license (source repository). GitHub announced the following on their blog: 'Because we spend most of our day in a text editor, the single most important feature we wanted in an editor was extensibility. Atom is built with the same open source technologies used by modern web browsers. ... But more importantly, extending Atom is as simple as writing JavaScript and CSS, two languages used by millions of developers each day.'

Apart from being extensible via HTML, Javascript, and CSS, Atom also offers out-of-the-box Node.js integration, a modular design with a built-in package manager (apm), and extensive features such as file system browser, themes, project-wide search and replace, panes, snippets, code folding, and more. Launched only 10 weeks ago, Atom seems to have a well-established ecosystem of packages and extensions already.."


The editor is based on atom-shell, a more general framework for building desktop apps using Javascript/HTML. Beware: according to the FAQ, by default it sends "usage data" to Google Analytics (which can be disabled at least).

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RightsCorp To Bring Its Controversial Copyright Protection Tactics To Europe
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's export-grade-copyright-trolls department:
judgecorp (778838) writes "RightsCorp, the controversial copyright enforcer, is planning to begin operations in Europe. In the U.S., the company scans torrents for IP addresses on behalf of media companies, shares them with ISPs, forcing them to send lawyers' letters (using the DMCA) demanding money from the supposed copyright infringers. RightsCorp says Europe needs its help in fighting piracy"

They recently expanded operations into Canada as well.

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NASA, France Skeptical of SpaceX Reusable Rocket Project
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-can't-do-it-therefore-nobody-can-do-it department:
MarkWhittington writes: "The drive by SpaceX to make the first stage of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle reusable has attracted the attention of both the media and the commercial space world. It recently tested a first stage which 'soft landed' successfully in the Atlantic Ocean. However both NASA and the French space agency CNES have cast doubt that this kind of reusability could ever be made practical, according to a Monday story in Aviation Week. SpaceX is basing its plan on the idea that its Merlin 1D engines could be reused 40 times. However, citing their own experience in trying to reuse engines, both NASA and the CNES have suggested that the technical challenges and the economics work against SpaceX being able to reuse all or part of their rockets. NASA found that it was not worth trying to reuse the space shuttle main engines after every flight without extensive refurbishment. The CNES studied reusing its Ariane 5 solid rocket boosters liquid fueled and reusable but soon scrapped the idea."

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What Was the Greatest Age For Indie Games?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-the-age-that-gave-us-star-control-2 department:
jonyami writes: "Indie games have existed for as long as there's been something to play and something to play it on. From the humble Apple II to modern PCs, Xbox Live Arcade and the Kickstarter revolution, just what was the greatest age for indie games? A new article takes a look at the various eras, the top indie games and the future — which one do you reckon is on top?"

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Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'm-sorry-dave,-that-volvo-looked-at-me-funny department:
An anonymous reader writes "Patrick Lin of California Polytechnic State University explores one of the ethical problems autonomous car developers are going to have to solve: crash prioritization. He posits this scenario: suppose an autonomous car determines a crash is unavoidable, but has the option of swerving right into a small car with few safety features or swerving left into a heavier car that's more structurally sound. Do the people programming the car have it intentionally crash into the vehicle less likely to crumple? It might make more sense, and lead to fewer fatalities — but it sure wouldn't feel that way to the people in the car that got hit. He says, '[W]hile human drivers may be forgiven for making a poor split-second reaction – for instance, crashing into a Pinto that's prone to explode, instead of a more stable object – robot cars won't enjoy that freedom. Programmers have all the time in the world to get it right. It's the difference between premeditated murder and involuntary manslaughter.' We could somewhat randomize outcomes, but that would lead to generate just as much trouble. Lin adds, 'The larger challenge, though, isn't thinking through ethical dilemmas. It's also about setting accurate expectations with users and the general public who might find themselves surprised in bad ways by autonomous cars. Whatever answer to an ethical dilemma the car industry might lean towards will not be satisfying to everyone.'"

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Chinese E-Commerce Giant To Enter US Market
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '14 at 12:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-will-there-be-free-shipping department:
An anonymous reader writes "Alibaba Group Holding, a Chinese company, filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on Tuesday to the tune of $1 billion dollars. Alibaba is an e-commerce company whose success has ensured that more than half of all parcel deliveries in China, the world's largest internet market, are directly attributed to Alibaba customers. Critics, citing cultural differences (i.e., consumer branding and shopping preferences) as well as entrenched U.S. competition, say that the company may not be as successful in the U.S. Businesses such as Amazon, eBay, and PayPal already provide the type of services that the Alibaba Group offers. On the other hand, U.S. consumers and business owners may welcome the prospect of having one more company vying for their patronage. More competition, after all, means more incentive to keep prices low enough to attract and retain more end-users."

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Job Postings For Python, NoSQL, Apache Hadoop Way Up This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '14 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's year-of-the-accidental-dba department:
Nerval's Lobster writes: "Dice [note: our corporate overlord] collects a ton of data from job postings. Its latest findings? The number of jobs posted for NoSQL experts has risen 54 percent year-over-year, ahead of postings for professionals skilled in so-called 'Big Data' (up 46 percent), Apache Hadoop (43 percent), and Python (16 percent). Employers are also seeking those with expertise in Software-as-a-Service platforms, to the tune of 20 percent more job postings over the past twelve months; in a similar vein, postings for tech professionals with some cloud experience have leapt 27 percent in the same period. Nothing earth-shattering here, but it's perhaps interesting to note that, for all the hype surrounding some of these things, there's actually significant demand behind them."

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EVE Online's Space Economy Currently Worth $18 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '14 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's where-can-i-go-to-invest-in-imaginary-spaceships department:
DavidGilbert99 writes: "According to Eyjólfur Guðmundsson, the lead economist of CCP Games, developer of EVE Online, the total amount of ISK (InterStellar Kredits) in the system at the moment is 600 trillion, which equates to about $18 million in real world money — and the economist believes we could learn a lot from how the economy works in the game. There was a massive battle within the game earlier this year, which CCP estimated destroyed between $300,000 and $330,000 worth of game materials. Guðmundsson said, 'In economics there is a big difference between consumption and loss. In EVE, the war is the consumption of the economy. Even though they are giving money away they are not losing value, they are gaining something instead. People were willing to spend that money [in the Battle of B-R5RB] to get this thrill of participating in this battle.'"

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Microsoft Doesn't Have Plans For a Dedicated Handheld Gaming Device
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '14 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's mobile-kinect-will-never-be-a-thing department:
DroidJason1 writes: "Rumors have persisted for a while now that Microsoft is working on a dedicated handheld gaming device to go against the Sony PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS. The head of Xbox has now responded to a question about it from an eager gamer on Twitter who asked whether there were any plans for a 'handheld Xbox-One-like gaming device.' The answer is no. Microsoft is focused on Windows Phone, tablets, and perhaps both with controller support someday."

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Dropbox and Box Leaked Shared Private Files Through Google
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '14 at 06:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's everything's-secure-until-it-isn't department:
judgecorp writes: "People using shared storage providers such as Box and Dropbox are leaking data, a competitor has discovered. Links to shared files leak out when those links are accidentally put into the Google search box, or if users click links from within the documents. Dropbox competitor Intralinks stumbled across mortgage applications and bank statements while checking Google Analytics data for a Google Adwords campaign. Graham Cluley explains the problem in detail and suggests answers: for Dropbox users, it means upgrading to the Business version, which lets you restrict access to shared document links."
Dropbox has posted an official response and disabled access to previously shared links. Box made a vague statement about their awareness of the issue.

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Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '14 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's port-quake-3-to-my-microwave department:
An anonymous reader writes "I've been teaching myself to code recently. I've made good progress so far, and I've written a bunch of little scripts to make my life easier. Here's the problem: most project ideas I come up with now either seem pretty easy or pretty impossible. I'm having trouble thinking of a project that'll stretch my skills without overloading them. I've tried finding open source projects to read through, but I run into the same thing: either it's straight-forward, or it requires reading a half-dozen dependencies, each of which has dependencies of their own. Anyone have suggestions on some intermediate-skill projects to undertake? Or some project files in an online repo that go beyond the basics without getting overwhelming? My language of choice is Python, but other languages are welcome."

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