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30-Day Status Update On LibreSSL
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-the-hyperlinks-you-can-handle department:
ConstantineM writes: "Bob Beck — OpenBSD, OpenSSH and LibreSSL developer and the director of Alberta-based non-profit OpenBSD Foundation — gave a talk earlier today at BSDCan 2014 in Ottawa, discussing and illustrating the OpenSSL problems that have led to the creation of a big fork of OpenSSL that is still API-compatible with the original, providing for a drop-in replacement, without the <tt>#ifdef</tt> spaghetti and without its own "OpenSSL C" dialect.

Bob is claiming that the Maryland-incorporated OpenSSL Foundation is nothing but a for-profit front for FIPS consulting gigs, and that nobody at OpenSSL is actually interested in maintaining OpenSSL, but merely adding more and more features, with the existing bugs rotting in bug-tracking for a staggering 4 years (CVE-2010-5298 has been independently re-discovered by the OpenBSD team after having been quietly reported in OpenSSL's RT some 4 years prior).

Bob reports that the bug-tracking system abandoned by OpenSSL has actually been very useful to the OpenBSD developers at finding and fixing even more of OpenSSL bugs in downstream LibreSSL, which still remain unfixed in upstream OpenSSL.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Tux3 File System Could Finally Make It Into the Mainline Linux Kernel
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's voted-onto-the-island department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Tux3 file-system that's been in development since 2008 as the public replacement to the patent-blocked Tux2 file-system is now under review for inclusion into the Linux kernel. Tux3 tries to act as a 'light, tight, modern file-system. We offer a fresh approach to some ancient problems,' according to its lead developer, Daniel Phillips. Tux3 strives for minimal resource consumption but lacks enterprise-grade reliability at this point. Tux3, at the end of the day, tries to be 'robust, fast, and simple' with the Linux FS reportedly being as fast as other well known file-systems. Details on the project are at Tux3.org."

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Data Mining Shows How Down-Voting Leads To Vicious Circle of Negative Feedback
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's vicious-circles-are-the-best-circles department:
KentuckyFC writes: "In behavioral psychology, the theory of operant conditioning is the notion that an individual's future behavior is determined by the punishments and rewards he or she has received in the past. It means that specific patterns of behavior can be induced by punishing unwanted actions while rewarding others. While the theory is more than 80 years old, it is hard at work in the 21st century in the form of up- and down-votes — or likes and dislikes — on social networks. But does this form of reward and punishment actually deter unwanted actions while encouraging good behavior? Now a new study of the way voting influences online behavior has revealed the answer. The conclusion: negative feedback leads to behavioral changes that are hugely detrimental to the community. Not only do authors of negatively-evaluated content contribute more but their future posts are of lower quality and are perceived by the community as such. What's more, these authors are more likely to evaluate fellow users negatively in future, creating a vicious circle of negative feedback. By contrast, positive feedback does not influence authors much at all. That's exactly the opposite of what operant conditioning theory predicts. The researchers have a better suggestion for social networks: 'Given that users who receive no feedback post less frequently, a potentially effective strategy could be to ignore undesired behavior and provide no feedback at all.' Would Slashdotters agree?"

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Congressmen Who Lobbied FCC Against Net Neutrality & Received Payoff
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's only-your-best-interests-at-heart department:
An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica published an article Friday highlighting the results from research conducted by a money-in-politics watchdog regarding the 28 congressmen who sent a combined total of three letters to the FCC protesting against re-classifying the internet as a public utility. These 28 members of the U.S. House of Representatives 'received, on average, $26,832 from the "cable & satellite TV production & distribution" sector over a two-year period ending in December. According to the data, that's 2.3 times more than the House average of $11,651.' That's average. Actual amounts that the 28 received over a two year period ranged from $109,250 (Greg Waldon, R-OR) to $0 (Nick Rahall, D-WV). Look at the list yourselves, and find your representative to determine how much legitimacy can be attributed to their stated concerns for the public."

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Meet Canada's Goosebuster Drone
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's playing-duck-duck-drone department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Tyler LeBlanc reports that Ottawa has a problem — a goose problem. Every summer the wandering waterfowl return to the beaches that line the Ottawa River leaving high concentrations of geese poop on beaches and in shallow water, which can lead to outbreaks of infection in human populations, particularly children. In the past, the city has tried a number of different methods of ridding their beaches of the geese, but this year, they are going high-tech. Steve Wambolt, the founder of Aerial Perspective, modified a drone with some flashing lights and speakers and took to the skies. 'I took existing land-based anti-pest technology and put it on a helicopter,' says Wambolt. 'When I tested it at the beach a few days later it worked remarkably well.' Using pre-recorded predatory calls (video) from hawks, eagles, owls, ravens and even wolves, Wambolt stalks the beaches of Petrie Island in an attempt to scare the loitering geese away from the area for good."

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Robbery Suspect Tracked By GPS and Killed
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's modern-crime-fighting department:
New submitter Lew Lorton notes a NY Times story about a thief in New York City who was tracked and located using a GPS device inside a decoy pill bottle he had stolen (along with other pill bottles) from a pharmacy. When police confronted the thief, he raised a gun to shoot at an officer, and was killed
"The decoy bottles were introduced last year by the police commissioner at the time, Raymond W. Kelly, who announced that the department would begin to stock pharmacy shelves with decoy bottles of painkillers containing GPS devices. The initiative was in response to a sharp increase of armed and often deadly pharmacy robberies across the state, frequently by people addicted to painkillers. ... The bottles are designed to be weighted and to rattle when shaken, so a thief does not initially realize they do not contain pills. Each of the decoy bottles sits atop a special base, and when the bottle is lifted from the base, it begins to emit a tracking signal."

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Understanding an AI's Timescale
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's meatbags-are-slow,-electrons-are-fast department:
An anonymous reader writes "It's a common trope in sci-fi that when AIs become complex enough to have some form of consciousness, humans will be able to communicate with them through speech. But the rate at which we transmit and analyze data is infinitesimal compared to how fast a computer can do it. Would they even want to bother? Jeff Atwood takes a look at how a computer's timescale breaks down, and relates it to human timeframes. It's interesting to note the huge variance in latency. If we consider one CPU cycle to take 1 second, then a sending a ping across the U.S. would take the equivalent of 4 years. A simple conversation could take the equivalent of thousands of years. Would any consciousness be able to deal with such a relative delay?"

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Biggest Dinosaur Yet Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we're-gonna-need-a-bigger-boat department:
An anonymous reader quote the BBC:
"Fossilised bones of a dinosaur believed to be the largest creature ever to walk the Earth have been unearthed in Argentina, palaeontologists say. Based on its huge thigh bones, it was 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall. Weighing in at 77 tonnes, it was as heavy as 14 African elephants, and seven tonnes heavier than the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus. Scientists believe it is a new species of titanosaur — an enormous herbivore dating from the Late Cretaceous period. A local farm worker first stumbled on the remains in the desert near La Flecha, about 250km (135 miles) west of Trelew, Patagonia."

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The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tracked-from-the-womb department:
theodp writes: "'The NSA,' writes POLITICO's Stephanie Simon in her eye-opening Data Mining Your Children, 'has nothing on the ed tech startup known as Knewton. The data analytics firm has peered into the brains of more than 4 million students across the country. By monitoring every mouse click, every keystroke, every split-second hesitation as children work through digital textbooks, Knewton is able to find out not just what individual kids know, but how they think. It can tell who has trouble focusing on science before lunch — and who will struggle with fractions next Thursday.' Simon adds, 'Even as Congress moves to rein in the National Security Agency, private-sector data mining has galloped forward — perhaps nowhere faster than in education. Both Republicans and Democrats have embraced the practice. And the Obama administration has encouraged it, even relaxing federal privacy law to allow school districts to share student data more widely.'"

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Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that-qualifies-as-a-bad-day department:
acidradio writes: "Somehow the SCCM application and image deployment server at Emory University in Atlanta accidentally started to repartition, reformat then install a new image of Windows 7 onto all university-managed computers. By the time this was discovered the SCCM server had managed to repartition and reformat itself. This was likely an accident. But what if it weren't? Could this have shed light on a possibly huge vulnerability in large enterprise organizations that rely heavily on automated software deployment packages like SCCM?"

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Pentagon Document Lays Out Battle Plan Against Zombies
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 04:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rule-#1:-cardio department:
mpicpp sends this news from CNN: "Never fear the night of the living dead — the Pentagon has got you covered. From responses to natural disasters to a catastrophic attack on the homeland, the U.S. military has a plan of action ready to go if either incident occurs. It has also devised an elaborate plan should a zombie apocalypse befall the country, according to a Defense Department document obtained by CNN. In an unclassified document titled 'CONOP 8888,' officials from U.S. Strategic Command used the specter of a planet-wide attack by the walking dead as a training template for how to plan for real-life, large-scale operations, emergencies and catastrophes."

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US Navy Wants Smart Robots With Morals, Ethics
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '14 at 02:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'm-sorry-dave,-the-value-of-your-life-is-a-string-and-i-was-expecting-an-integer department:
coondoggie writes: "The U.S. Office of Naval Research this week offered a $7.5m grant to university researchers to develop robots with autonomous moral reasoning ability. While the idea of robots making their own ethical decisions smacks of SkyNet — the science-fiction artificial intelligence system featured prominently in the Terminator films — the Navy says that it envisions such systems having extensive use in first-response, search-and-rescue missions, or medical applications. One possible scenario: 'A robot medic responsible for helping wounded soldiers is ordered to transport urgently needed medication to a nearby field hospital. En route, it encounters a Marine with a fractured leg. Should the robot abort the mission to assist the injured? Will it? If the machine stops, a new set of questions arises. The robot assesses the soldier’s physical state and determines that unless it applies traction, internal bleeding in the soldier's thigh could prove fatal. However, applying traction will cause intense pain. Is the robot morally permitted to cause the soldier pain, even if it’s for the soldier’s well-being?'"

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Apple To Face Lawsuit For iMessage Glitch
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '14 at 10:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's false-barriers department:
An anonymous reader writes "We've all heard about iPhone users switching over to Android-powered phones and no longer being able to receive text messages from friends and family still using iPhones. Well, a woman with exactly this issue has filed a lawsuit against Apple, complaining that '[p]eople who replace their Apple devices with non-Apple wireless phones and tablets are "penalized and unable to obtain the full benefits of their wireless-service contracts."' To be specific, '[t]he suit is based on contractual interference and unfair competition laws.' She is seeking class action status and undetermined damages."

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Discrete Logarithm Problem Partly Solved -- Time To Drop Some Crypto Methods?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '14 at 08:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's now-let's-be-paranoid-that-the-NSA-solved-it-years-ago department:
An anonymous reader points out this Science Daily report:
"Researchers ... have solved one aspect of the discrete logarithm problem. This is considered to be one of the 'holy grails' of algorithmic number theory, on which the security of many cryptographic systems used today is based. They have devised a new algorithm that calls into question the security of one variant of this problem, which has been closely studied since 1976. The result ... discredits several cryptographic systems that until now were assumed to provide sufficient security safeguards. Although this work is still theoretical, it is likely to have repercussions especially on the cryptographic applications of smart cards, RFID chips , etc."

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Apple and Google's Motorola Unit End Patent War
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '14 at 06:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lawyers-everywhere-in-mourning department:
An anonymous reader writes "Reuters reports that Apple and Google's Motorola Mobility unit are settling all patent lawsuits over smartphone tech. The settlement 'does not include a cross license to their respective patents,' and the companies will work together for patent reform. According to Reuters, 'The two companies informed a federal appeals court in Washington that the cases should be dismissed, according to filings on Friday. However, the deal does not appear to apply to Apple's litigation against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, as no dismissal notices were filed in those cases. The most high-profile case between Apple and Motorola began in 2010. Motorola accused Apple of infringing several patents, including one essential to how cell phones operate on a 3G network, while Apple said Motorola violated its patents to certain smartphone features.'"

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Cable TV Prices Rising At Four Times the Inflation Rate
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '14 at 05:01 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-the-market-will-bear department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new FCC report (PDF) has found that U.S. cable TV prices are rising at four times the rate of inflation over the past two decades. 'Basic cable service prices increased by 6.5 percent [to $22.63] for the 12 months ending January 1, 2013. Expanded basic cable prices increased by 5.1 percent [to $64.41] for those 12 months, and at a compound average annual rate of 6.1 percent over the 18-year period from 1995-2013. ... These price increases compare to a 1.6 percent increase in general inflation as measured by the CPI (All Items) for the same one-year period.' Equipment prices rose faster than inflation, too. The report also found that the price increases weren't helped by competition — in fact, the prices rose faster where there were competing providers than in areas where the main provider had no effective competition."

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Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '14 at 04:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's Peter-Pan-need-not-apply department:
Nemo the Magnificent writes: " Everybody knows software development is a young man's game, right? Here's a guy who hires and manages programmers, and he says it's not about age at all — it's about skills, period. 'It's each individual's responsibility to stay fresh in the field and maintain a modern-day skillset that gives any 28-year-old a run for his or her money. ... Although the ability to learn those skills is usually unlimited, the available time to learn often is not. "Little" things like family dinners, Little League, and home improvement projects often get in the way. As a result, we do find that we face a shortage of older, more seasoned developers. And it's not because we don't want older candidates. It's often because the older candidates haven't successfully modernized their developer skills.' A company that actively works to offer all employees the chance to learn and to engage with modern technologies is a company that good people are going to work for, and to stay at."

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Ouya's Unsung Strength: Multiplayer For Parties
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '14 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's shades-of-the-wii department:
An anonymous reader writes: "Ouya, the Kickstarted, Android-based gaming console, had a much easier time selling people the idea of a mini-console than selling people on the console itself. Once people got over the excitement of seeing an indie console break into the market, they asked, 'Wait, why would I want to play Android games on my living room TV?' Almost a year has passed, and we're finally seeing an answer to that question: party gaming. It's one thing to play a console against your friends online, but when you get a bunch of people in the same room, most console games are too deep and complex to just pick up and play in a fun, semi-competitive way. The person who owns the fighting game is going to mop the floor with everyone else. Mobile games, on the other hand, are often incredibly simple, and Ouya forces every game to have a free trial, so you can easily weed out the ones that aren't good for groups. For example: 'In Hidden In Plain Sight, your character is one ninja lost in a sea of CPU-controlled ninjas with exactly the same texture. In the first few seconds, you have to walk left, right, up, down, anything that will let you understand which of the characters on the screen is yours. Once you've got that, you have to figure out your opponents. Any move that doesn't look like is performed by the AI could give you away.'"

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Measles Virus Puts Woman's Cancer Into Remission
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '14 at 02:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fighting-fire-with-slightly-cooler-fire department:
clm1970 sends news that researchers from Mayo Clinic have successfully put a patient's cancer into remission using a modified measles virus. The researchers are quick to note that further trials are needed to determine whether these results are repeatable. Here are the two academic papers.
"Multiple myeloma in a 49-year-old woman seemed to disappear after she received an extremely high-dose injection of a measles virus engineered to kill the cancer cells. Multiple myeloma affects immune cells called plasma cells, which concentrate in the soft tissue, or marrow, inside bones. A second woman also with multiple myeloma began responding to the therapy, but her cancer eventually returned. Four other patients who received the high-dose therapy had no response. .. [Dr. Stephen Russell] and colleagues believe the two women who showed some response had few or no circulating measles antibodies, which might eliminate the engineered virus before it has a chance to kill the cancer cells. The therapy will now enter a mid-stage trial to see whether more patients with low circulating antibodies respond to high-doses of the virus, he said."

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Embedded Devices Leak Authentication Data Via SNMP
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '14 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's duct-tape-won't-fix-this-leak department:
msm1267 writes: "Researchers have discovered previously unreported problems in SNMP on embedded devices where devices such as secondary-market home routers and a popular enterprise-grade load balancer are leaking authentication details in plain text. The data could be extracted by gaining access to the read-only public SNMP community string, which enables outside access to device information. While only vulnerabilities in three brands were disclosed today, a Shodan search turns up potentially hundreds of thousands of devices that are exposing SNMP to the Internet that could be equally vulnerable."

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