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Apple Refuses To Unlock Bequeathed iPad
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cooperation-in-3-2-1 department:
mrspoonsi writes "A man whose mother bequeathed her iPad to her family in her will says Apple's security rules are too restrictive. Since her death, they have been unable to unlock the device, despite providing Apple with copies of her will, death certificate and solicitor's letter. After her death, they discovered they did not know her Apple ID and password, but were asked to provide written consent for the device to be unlocked. Mr Grant said: 'We obviously couldn't get written permission because mum had died. So my brother has been back and forth with Apple, they're asking for some kind of proof that he can have the iPad. We've provided the death certificate, will and solicitor's letter but it wasn't enough. They've now asked for a court order to prove that mum was the owner of the iPad and the iTunes account.'"

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First LSD Test In 40 Years Reveal Drug Helps Terminal Patients Prepare For Death
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 08:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's everything-is-wet-even-dry-stuff department:
EwanPalmer writes "The first controlled LSD study in more than 40 years reveals the drug could be used to help people with terminal illnesses deal better with death. The study, published in the Journal of nervous and Mental Disease, showed that 12 people who agreed to take the banned hallucinogenic drug during therapy sessions felt 'significant reductions in anxiety' about their lives ending."

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Researchers Hope To Grow Human Ears From Fat Tissue
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 07:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sound-of-adipose department:
Zothecula writes "Researchers at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital aim to grow a human ear via stem cells taken from a patient's fat tissue. Relatively little attention has been given to the reconstruction of damaged cartilage around the cranial area, however the new method is hoped to modernize this area of reconstructive surgery."

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Mozilla Is Investigating Why Dell Is Charging To Install Firefox
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 06:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's power-button-surcharge department:
An anonymous reader writes "Dell is charging customers £16.25 ($27.18) to install Firefox on a newly purchased computer. We contacted Mozilla to find out more. The company told us it is investigating the issue and denied it has any such a deal in place. 'There is no agreement between Dell and Mozilla which allows Dell or anyone else to charge for installing Firefox using that brand name,' Mozilla's Vice President and General Counsel Denelle Dixon-Thayer told TNW. 'Our trademark policy makes clear that this is not permitted and we are investigating this specific report.' Dell has responded by saying that this practice is okay because the company is charging for the service and not the product."

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Deadly Avian Flu Strain Penetrates Biosecurity Defenses In Seoul
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 05:01 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cover-your-mouth department:
sciencehabit writes "A new, deadly H5N8 strain of avian influenza penetrated the biosecurity defenses of a National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) campus near Seoul, prompting authorities to cull all of the facility's 11,000 hens and 5000 ducks. The incident highlights the difficulty of protecting poultry farms from circulating avian influenza viruses. 'We are taking this situation very seriously,' said Lee Jun-Won, deputy agriculture minister, at a press conference yesterday in Seoul. He noted that NIAS has the country's most secure facilities and most vigilant staff. Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus: wild birds, NIAS vehicles, and supply deliveries. 'We will determine the reason for the infection, and we are going to hold those responsible accountable,' he said."

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US Drops Link Sharing Charges Against Barrett Brown
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's on-second-thought department:
In a followup to our story yesterday, Bismillah writes "It seems US prosecutors agree that just publishing a link doesn't amount to transmitting actual files. Brown is not out of the legal woods yet though, and still faces further charges. The EFF released this statement about the decision: 'We are relieved that federal prosecutors have decided to drop these charges against Barrett Brown. In prosecuting Brown, the government sought to criminalize a routine practice of journalism—linking to external sources—which is a textbook violation of free speech protected by the First Amendment. Although this motion is good news for Brown, the unnecessary and unwarranted prosecution has already done much damage; not only has it harmed Brown, the prosecution—and the threat of prosecution it raised for all journalists—has chilled speech on the Internet. We hope that this dismissal of charges indicates a change in the Department of Justice priorities. If not, we will be ready to step in and defend free speech.'"

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College Board To Rethink the SAT, Partner With Khan Academy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's abba-cadaba department:
An anonymous reader writes "According to the NY Times, 'Saying its college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced on Wednesday a fundamental rethinking of the SAT, eliminating obligatory essays, ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong and cutting obscure vocabulary words. ... The SAT's rarefied vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as "empirical" and "synthesis." The math questions, now scattered widely across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections.' The College Board will also be working with Khan Academy to provide students with free, online practice problems and instructional videos. The new version of the SAT will be introduced in 2016."

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Facebook Wants To Block Illegal Gun Sales
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-mistakenly-invoke-the-constitution department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Most of the time, Facebook allows its users to hawk goods or solicit donations on Pages or Timeline postings, comparing such activity to placing a physical note on a bulletin board at a supermarket. Now it plans on regulating users who rely on this method to sell what it calls 'regulated' items, which includes firearms. 'Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18,' Facebook announced as part of the new rules. The social network will also prevent users from posting any sort of items 'that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law,' which means no offers to sell firearms across state lines or without a background check. Presumably, Facebook will have filters in place that allow it to scan for such content. Facebook is a private network, of course, and not (despite its ubiquity) a public utility — meaning it can do whatever it wants with regard to Terms of Use. But that likely won't stop some people from complaining about what they perceive as the company overstepping its boundaries."

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Ask Slashdot: Reviewing 3rd Party Libraries?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's discovering-you-trusted-something-way-too-much department:
Carcass666 writes "It is usually good to use existing libraries, rather than reinventing the wheel, especially with open source. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to work with closed source implementations. Recently, we were diagnosing a .NET assembly and, after getting nowhere with the vendor, ran it through a decompiler. The code was a morass of SQL concatenation, sloppy type conversions, and various things that are generally thought of as insecure.

My question is: What are Slashdot readers' preferred tools for analyzing .NET and Java compiled libraries (not source code) for potential security vulnerabilities? Ideally, I would like to know if a library is a security liability before I code against it. For example, Microsoft used to have something called FxCop, but it hasn't been updated for current versions of the .NET framework."


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Mathematicians Are Chronically Lost and Confused
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's dude-where's-my-cartesian-plot department:
An anonymous reader writes "Mathematics Ph.D. student Jeremy Kun has an interesting post about how mathematicians approach doing new work and pushing back the boundaries of human knowledge. He says it's immensely important for mathematicians to be comfortable with extended periods of ignorance when working on a new topic. 'The truth is that mathematicians are chronically lost and confused. It's our natural state of being, and I mean that in a good way. ... This is something that has been bred into me after years of studying mathematics. I know how to say, “Well, I understand nothing about anything,” and then constructively answer the question, “What’s next?” Sometimes the answer is to pinpoint one very basic question I don’t understand and try to tackle that first.' He then provides some advice for people learning college level math like calculus or linear algebra: 'I suggest you don't worry too much about verifying every claim and doing every exercise. If it takes you more than 5 or 10 minutes to verify a "trivial" claim in the text, then you can accept it and move on. ... But more often than not you'll find that by the time you revisit a problem you've literally grown so much (mathematically) that it's trivial. What's much more useful is recording what the deep insights are, and storing them for recollection later.'"

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Type Ia Supernovae As Not-Quite-So-Standard Cosmological Candles
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's exploding-suns department:
Shag writes "Type Ia supernovae are used as cosmological 'standard candles' to measure distance because of their strong similarity to one another. This has made possible, for example, the research into universal expansion that led to the Nobel-winning discovery of 'dark energy.' For years, astrophysicists believed white dwarves exploded when they accreted enough mass from companion stars to reach a limit of 1.38 times the mass of our Sun. A decade ago, the 'Champagne supernova' (SN 2003fg) was so bright astrophysicists concluded the limit had been exceeded by two white dwarves colliding. Now a new paper (PDF) from the Nearby Supernova Factory collaboration suggests that type Ia supernovae occur at a wider range of stellar masses. Fortunately, there appears to be a calculable correlation between mass and light-curve width, so they can still fill the 'standard candle' role, and research based on them is probably still valid. (I took data for the paper, but am not an author.)"

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Oregon Withholding $25.6M From Oracle Over Health Website Woes
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-about-the-benjamins department:
itwbennett writes "Oregon is holding back $25.6 million in payments from Oracle (out of some $69.5 million Oracle claims it is owed) over work the vendor did on the state's troubled health care exchange website. The site was supposed to go live on Oct. 1 but its launch has been marred by a slew of bugs and it is not yet fully functional. This week, Cover Oregon said it had reached an agreement with Oracle laying out 'an orderly transition of technology development services, and protects current and future Cover Oregon enrollees,' according to a statement. Oregon officials reached the deal with Oracle after the company reportedly threatened to pull all of its workers off the project and essentially walk away."

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Valve Prepping Source 2 Engine For VR
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's setting-right-what-once-went-wrong department:
An anonymous reader writes "In a Q&A session on Reddit last night with Valve's Gabe Newell, the founder confirmed that the company is in the process of getting the highly anticipated Source 2 game engine 'working well with VR.' Valve's Alex Vlachos, Senior Graphics Programmer, is apparently leading the charge. Still no word on when the engine may ship. Valve, who is openly collaborating with Oculus VR, demonstrated a VR headset prototype in January at Steam Dev Days. The company also launched a beta version of SteamVR which offers Steam's 'Big Picture' mode in a format compatible with the Oculus Rift VR headset. A developer who got to experiment with Valve's VR prototype says it's very impressive, even more so than the original Oculus VR dev kit."

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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's crowdsourced-eyes-and-ears department:
v3rgEz writes "Even as some police departments curtail their sue of license plate scanning technology over privacy concerns, private companies have been amassing a much larger, almost completely unregulated database that pulls in billions of scans a year, marking the exact time and location of millions of vehicles across America. The database, which is often offered to law enforcement for free, is collected by repo and towing companies eager to tap easy revenue, while the database companies then resell that data, often for as little as $25 for a plate's complete recorded history."

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OpenShift Now Supports Windows; GoDaddy Joins OpenStack
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 10:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's didn't-see-that-one-coming department:
sfcrazy writes "It's not Onion: Red Hat has partnered with Uhuru Software to bring Microsoft .NET Apps and SQL server capabilities to Red Hat's Platform-as-a-Service solution OpenShift."

This brings OpenShift to Windows, and not .NET applications to GNU/Linux OpenShift installations. RedHat customers have apparently been asking for this for a while. The source is available: "The consistent model for managing both Linux and Windows systems that OpenShift provides allow organizations to achieve greater efficiency and agility. Windows is now a full-fledged member of the Open Source world of OpenShift. In keeping with the spirit of Open Source, Uhuru has made all of its OpenShift integration software for Windows available to the community and is working to have it officially integrated into OpenShift Origin."

In related news (OpenShift is usually used on top of OpenStack), darthcamaro writes "The OpenStack cloud platform keeps on gaining new converts. The latest is GoDaddy which today announced it is now officially supporting the OpenStack Foundation. How GoDaddy came to officially join the OpenStack Foundation is interesting, apparently the OpenStack Foundation found out that GoDaddy was using OpenStack though job postings."

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Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's padlock-icon-says-I'm-good-right department:
New submitter Matt.Battey writes "I was recently on-site with a client and in the execution of my duties there, I needed to access web sites like Google Maps and my company's VPN. The VPN connection was rejected (which tends to be common, even though it's an HTTPS based VPN service). However, when I went to Google Maps I received a certificate error. It turns out that the client is intercepting all HTTPS traffic on the way out the door and re-issuing an internally generated certificate for the site. My client's employees don't notice because their computers all have the internal CA pushed out via Windows Group Policy & log-on scripts.

In essence, my client performs a Man-In-The-Middle attack on all of their employees, interrupting HTTPS communications via a network coordinated reverse-proxy with false certificate generation. My assumption is that the client logs all HTTPS traffic this way, capturing banking records, passwords, and similar data on their employees.

My question: How common is it for employers to perform MITM attacks on their own employees?"


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Steve Ballmer Blew Up At the Microsoft Board Before Retiring
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's developers-developers-developers-rage-quit department:
mrspoonsi writes with this excerpt from Business Insider on Steve Ballmer's final months as Microsoft CEO: "Ballmer decided to announce his retirement a few years before anyone expected him to. It all came to a head in one board meeting with Ballmer in June 2013. According to Businessweek, Ballmer got into a shouting match with Microsoft's board when directors said they didn't want to buy Nokia and start making smartphones. Ballmer told the board last June that if he didn't get what he wanted, he wouldn't be CEO any more. Businessweek said Ballmer's shouts could be heard in the hall outside the conference room. In the end, the board compromised with Ballmer. Ballmer wanted to buy both Nokia's handset business and its mapping platform called HERE. Instead, Microsoft ended up buying just the handset business for $7.2 billion and licensed HERE maps from Nokia."

Ballmer seems to be regretting not getting into hardware sooner (although given that not making hardware propelled them to success in the 90s...)

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Interview: Ask Theo de Raadt What You Will
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-ahead-and-ask department:
Theo de Raadt was a founding member of NetBSD, and is the founder and leader of the OpenSSH and OpenBSD projects. He is currently working on OpenBSD 5.5 which would be the projects 35th release on CDROM. Even though he'd rather be hiking in the mountains or climbing rocks in his free time, Theo has agreed to answer any question you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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The Other Oscars: White House Hi-Tech Ed Film Winners
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's knowledge-navgiator-dream-machines department:
theodp writes "Last December, the White House called on kids to film high-tech education. Three months later, the winners of the White House Student Film Festival are in. "They tell the story of exactly why it's so important that we make sure more classrooms have the kind of cutting-edge technology they promote," the White House said. The film festival, NBC reports, showcases the administration's ConnectED campaign to bring next-generation broadband and wireless to 99% of students within 5 years. Since the White House left things at 16 finalists, how about the Slashdot People's Choice Awards — which of the videos selected by the White House do you feel best "highlight the power of technology in schools"? The slickest, no doubt, is Technology in Education: A Future Classroom by young Daniel Nemroff, who gives those Microsoft 'Future Vision' video folks a run for their money."

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'Data Science' Is Dead
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '14 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's data-however-is-the-lucasian-chair department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "If you're going to make up a cool-sounding job title for yourself, 'Data Scientist' seems to fit the bill. When you put 'Data Scientist' on your resume, recruiters perk up, don't they? Go to the Strata conference and look on the jobs board — every company wants to hire Data Scientists. Time to jump aboard that bandwagon, right? Wrong, argues Miko Matsumura in a new column. 'Not only is Data Science not a science, it's not even a good job prospect,' he writes. 'Companies continue to burn millions of dollars to collect and gamely pick through the data under respective roofs. What's the time-to-value of the average "Big Data" project? How about "Never?"' After the 'Big Data' buzz cools a bit, he argues, it will be clear to everyone that 'Data Science' is dead and the job function of 'Data Scientist' will have jumped the shark."

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