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Spooks-as-a-Service Swarm RSA Conference
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's if-you-can't-beat-them department:
itwbennett writes "As the list of victims of sophisticated cyber attacks expands, so does the need for specialized, high-priced, and hard-to-find talent to help investigate and recover from those attacks. The latest solution: hosted services offering access to cyber intelligence and incident response. 'At the RSA Security Conference this week, companies large and small are trumpeting the spy agency connections of senior staff as never before,' writes Paul Roberts. 'These new offerings — think of them as spooks-as-a-service — typically combine some degree of network and endpoint monitoring with a cloud-based management platform to gather and analyze data against data aggregated from other customers and third-party threat intelligence.'"

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Intel's New Desktop SSD Is an Overclocked Server Drive
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 07:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-kid-in-class department:
crookedvulture writes "Most of Intel's recent desktop SSDs have followed a familiar formula. Combine off-the-shelf controller with next-gen NAND and firmware tweaks. Rinse. Repeat. The new 730 Series is different, though. It's based on Intel's latest datacenter SSD, which combines a proprietary controller with high-endurance NAND. In the 730 Series, these chips are clocked much higher than their usual speeds. The drive is fully validated to run at the boosted frequencies, and it's rated to endure at least 70GB of writes per day over five years. As one might expect, though, this hot-clocked server SSD is rather pricey for a desktop model. It's slated to sell for around $1/GB, which is close to double the cost of more affordable options. And the 730 Series isn't always faster than its cheaper competition. Although the drive boasts exceptional throughput with random I/O, its sequential transfer rates are nothing special."

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Agbogbloshie: The World's Largest e-Waste Dump
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 06:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's put-that-anywhere department:
kc123 writes "Photographer Kevin McElvaney documents Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in Accra, Ghana, which is home to the world's largest e-waste dumping site. Boys and young men smash devices to get to the metals, especially copper. Injuries, such as burns, untreated wounds, eye damage, lung and back problems, go hand in hand with chronic nausea, anorexia, debilitating headaches and respiratory problems. Most workers die from cancer in their 20s"

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Indian Space Agency Prototypes Its First Crew Capsule
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 05:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's up-up-and-away department:
First time accepted submitter sixsigma1978 writes "India is about to take one small step towards human space flight. Last week the country's space agency unveiled a prototype of its first crew capsule, a 4-meter-high module designed to carry two people into low Earth orbit. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is planning a test flight for later this year – even though it still awaits government approval and funding for a human space-flight program. The unpiloted capsule will fly on the maiden launch of a new type of rocket that would otherwise have carried a dummy payload."

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Tor Is Building an Anonymous Instant Messenger
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 05:01 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's most-private-of-messages department:
An anonymous reader writes in with news about a new anonymous instant messenger client on the way from Tor. "Forget the $16 billion romance between Facebook and WhatsApp. There's a new messaging tool worth watching. Tor, the team behind the world's leading online anonymity service, is developing a new anonymous instant messenger client, according to documents produced at the Tor 2014 Winter Developers Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland."

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3D Maps Reveal a Lead-Laced Ocean
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 04:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-the-magic-out department:
sciencehabit writes "About 1000 meters down in a remote part of the Atlantic Ocean sits an unusual legacy of humanity's love affair with the automobile. It's a huge mass of seawater infused with traces of the toxic metal lead, a pollutant once widely emitted by cars burning leaded gasoline. Decades ago, the United States and Europe banned leaded gas and many other uses of the metal, but the pollutant's fingerprint lingers on—as shown by remarkably detailed new 3-D maps released this week. The 3D maps and animations are the early results of an unprecedented $300 million international collaboration to document the presence of trace metals and other chemicals in the world's oceans. The substances, which often occur in minute quantities, can provide important clues to understanding the ocean's past—such as how seawater masses have moved around over centuries—and its future, such as how climate change might shift key biochemical processes."

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Experimental Port of Debian To OpenRISC
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 03:31 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's building-rms-a-new-laptop department:
Via Phoronix comes news that Debian has been ported to the OpenRISC architecture by Christian Svensson. Quoting his mailing list post:

"Some people know that I've been working on porting Glibc and doing some
toolchain work. My evil master plan was to make a Debian port, and today
I'm a happy hacker indeed! ... If anyone want to try this on real hardware (would be very cool to see how
this runs IRL), ping me on IRC [#openrisc on freenode] and I'll set you up with instructions how to
use debootstrap - just point to a repo with the debs and you're all set,
the wonders of binary distributions."


For those who don't know, OpenRISC is the completely open source RISC processor intended as the crown jewel of the Opencores project. A working port of glibc and a GNU/Linux distribution is a huge step toward making use of OpenRISC practical. There's a screencast of the system in action, and source on Github (at posting time, it was a month out of date from the looks of it). Christian Svensson's Github account also has repos for the rest of the toolchain.

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Github Rolls Out New Text Editor Atom
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 03:16 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's like-emacs-but-...-no-basically-it's-emacs department:
hypnosec writes "Github has introduced Atom, its new 'web native' code editor which has been in development for more than six years. Atom is available as a part of an invite-only beta program. GitHub describes Atom as an attempt to create an editor 'that will be welcoming to an elementary school student on their first day learning to code, but also a tool they won't outgrow as they develop into seasoned hackers.'"

You can request an invite on atom.io. The source to supporting libraries has already been released, but it looks like Atom itself might not be released (although it is a "specialized variant of Chromium designed to be a text editor rather than a web browser."). The editor is extensible in Javascript instead of "special-purpose scripting languages" like Emacs and VIM (is Javascript really any less messy than Emacs-Lisp though?). A preliminary user guide and customization guide are available to all.

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IBM Begins Layoffs, Questions Arise About Pact With New York
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 02:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's fire-ten-hire-three department:
dcblogs writes with news that the rumored IBM layoffs have begun. "IBM is laying off U.S. employees this week as part of a $1B restructuring, and is apparently trying keep the exact number of cuts secret. The Alliance@IBM, the main source of layoff information at IBM, says the company has stopped including in its resource action documents, given to cut employees, the number of employees selected for a job cut. The union calls it a 'disturbing development.' Meanwhile, two days prior to the layoffs, NY Governor Cuomo announced that it reached a new minimum staffing level agreement with IBM to 'maintain 3,100 high-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas.' The governor's office did not say how many IBM jobs are now there, but others put estimate it at around 7,000. Lee Conrad, a national coordinator for the Alliance, said the governor's announcement raises some questions for workers and the region. 'Yes, you're trying to protect 3,100 jobs but what about the other 3,900 jobs?' The Alliance estimates that anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 U.S. workers could be impacted by the latest round of layoffs. IBM says it has more than 3,000 open positions in the U.S., and says the cuts are part of a 'rebalancing' as it shifts investments into new areas of technology, such as cognitive computing."

Alliance@IBM has a page collecting reports from people terminated today.

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Facebook Gives Up On Desktop Apps: Kills Messenger For Windows and Firefox
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 02:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's not-like-anyone-was-using-them department:
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook today began prompting Facebook Messenger for Windows users as well as Facebook Messenger for Firefox users with a message saying the apps are shutting down next week. Without much of an explanation, the company plans to kill off both on March 3. It appears that Facebook is no longer interested in developing desktop apps. The Android and iOS versions are still alive and well."

You can always connect to their IM service using a generic XMPP client like Pidgin (too bad Facebook doesn't federate).

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'Write the Docs' is a Conference for People Who Write Software Docs (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 02:15 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's documentation-makes-software-more-usable department:
There is this guy, Eric Holscher, who has been doing FOSS development for quite a while. He's been on GitHub since 2008, and got involved in Gittip not long after it started in 2012. Not long after that, Eric started thinking about how open source software developers have all kinds of conferences and have many communities they can join and learn from each other, while those who write documentation, especially for FOSS, typically work all alone in a vacuum.

So why not have a conference for documentation writers (and developers who want to hook up with writers who can help them make high-quality docs)? Don't limit it to FOSS, but make sure that's the emphasis. Call the conference 'Write the Docs' and have the first conference in Portland, Oregon, in 2013. Which is exactly what Eric did.A year later, a second 'Write the Docs' conference is scheduled in Budapest (Hungary) for at the end of March, and the next Portland conference is set for April 8th.

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The Science of Solitary Confinement
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 01:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's breaking-your-mind-reforms-you department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Joseph Stromberg writes in Smithsonian Magazine that while the practice of solitary confinement is being discontinued in most countries, it's become increasingly routine within the American prison system. It is estimated that between 80,000 and 81,000 prisoners are in some form of solitary confinement nationwide. Once employed largely as a short-term punishment, it's now regularly used as way of disciplining prisoners indefinitely, isolating them during ongoing investigations, coercing them into cooperating with interrogations and even separating them from perceived threats within the prison population at their request.

Most prisoners in solitary confinement spend at least 23 hours per day restricted to cells of 80 square feet, not much larger than a king-size bed, devoid of stimuli (some are allowed in a yard or indoor area for an hour or less daily), and are denied physical contact on visits from friends and family ... A majority of those surveyed experienced symptoms such as dizziness, heart palpitations, chronic depression, while 41 percent reported hallucinations, and 27 percent had suicidal thoughts...

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Yes, You Too Can Be an Evil Network Overlord With OpenBSD
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 01:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's using-pflow-for-fun-and-profit department:
badger.foo writes "Have you ever wanted to know what's really going on in your network? Some free tools with surprising origins can help you to an almost frightening degree. Peter Hansteen shares some monitoring insights, anecdotes and practical advice in his latest column on how to really know your network. All of it with free software, of course."

From the article: "
The NetFlow protocol was invented at Cisco in the early 1990s. It's designed to collect traffic metadata, where the basic unit of reference is the flow, defined as the source and destination IP address pair, the matching source and destination port for protocols that use them, the protocol identifier, time started and ended, number of packets sent, number of bytes sent, and a few other fields that have varied somewhat over the NetFlow versions. ...
On OpenBSD, various netflow sensors and collectors had been available for a while when the new network pseudo device pflow debuted in OpenBSD 4.5."

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UK Government Proposes Rules To Allow 'Three-Parent Embryos'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 01:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's meet-my-nine-parents department:
sciencehabit writes "The U.K. government today issued proposed regulations that would allow researchers to try a new and controversial in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure in patients. The technique could allow women who are carriers of mitochondrial disease to have healthy, genetically related children. But it also transfers DNA from one egg or embryo into another, a form of genetic alteration that could be passed on to future generations. Altering the genes of human egg cells or embryos in IVF procedures is now forbidden in the United Kingdom."

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Why We Need To Teach Hacking In High School
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 12:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's rms-teaches-programming department:
An anonymous reader writes "Following one of the best descriptions ever of a hacker I've ever seen, Pete Herzog, creator of the 'security testing' (professional hacking) manual OSSTMM outlines compelling reasons why the traits of the hacker should be taught in school to make better students and better people. It starts out with 'Whatever you may have heard about hackers, the truth is they do something really, really well: discover.' and it covers open education, teaching kids to think for themselves, and promoting hacking as a tool for progress."

A good read, despite confusing hacker and hacker a bit. I remember getting to set up Debian on a scrap machine in high school, only to have county IT kill the project because of the horrible danger experimentation could have proven to the network...

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NRC Expects Applications To Operate Reactors Beyond 60 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 11:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's maybe-we-should-build-new-ones department:
mdsolar writes with news that the aging reactor fleet in the U.S. will likely see units hitting 80 or more years of use before being decommissioned. From the article: "Officials of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry expect the first application to be filed with the agency in 2018 or 2019 for a license renewal to operate a power reactor or reactors beyond 60 years. At a Nuclear Energy Institute forum in Washington Tuesday, neither NRC nor industry officials named specific plants considered likely to apply, and it was not clear from their remarks if any nuclear operator has yet volunteered to be the first to apply."

Also see the staff report on preparing for the first applications. The proposed operating license changes would place no limit on the number of 20 year extensions, so perhaps a few reactors will end up in operation for a full century (if there's anyone left who can remember how to operate them then).

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GCHQ Intercepted Webcam Images of Millions of Yahoo Users
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 11:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's in-case-any-of-them-run-for-office department:
An anonymous reader writes with more chilling news from the Snowden files. Quoting the Guardian: "GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not. ... The system, eerily reminiscent of the telescreens evoked in George Orwell's 1984, was used for experiments in automated facial recognition, to monitor GCHQ's existing targets, and to discover new targets of interest. Such searches could be used to try to find terror suspects or criminals making use of multiple, anonymous user IDs."

Remember, friends don't video conference with friends unless they're using SIP and TLS.

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Sundar Pichai: Android Designed For Openness; Security a Lower Priority
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-that-they-must-contradict department:
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this week, Google Android chief Sundar Pichai spoke at the Mobile World Congress where he explained, rather bluntly, that Android is designed to be open more so than it's designed to be safe. He also added that if he were a hacker today, he too would focus most of his efforts on Android on account of its marketshare position." Related: wiredmikey writes "Boeing is launching 'Boeing Black phone,' a self-destructing Android-based smartphone that the company says has no serviceable parts, and any attempted servicing or replacing of parts would destroy the product. 'Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable,' the company explained. ... The device should not be confused with the new encrypted Blackphone, developed by the U.S. secure communications firm Silent Circle with Spanish manufacturer Geeksphone."

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Code.org Resurrects 'Flappy Bird' As Programming Lesson
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's keeping-up-with-the-times department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Flappy Bird might be kaput, but its hilariously awkward hero is serving another useful purpose in its afterlife: teaching people how to code. Flappy Bird, a free mobile game for Android and iOS that asks the player to guide the titular avian through an obstacle course of vertical pipes, became a sensation earlier this year, seizing the top spots on the Apple and Google Play app stores. Its creator, Dong Nguyen, said the game earned him an average of $50,000 a day through in-app advertising — but that didn't stop him from yanking the game offline in early February. Now Code.org has resurrected Flappy Bird, Phoenix-style, from the smoking wreckage, with a free tutorial that allows anyone with a bit of time to code his or her very own version of the game. There's no actual code to learn, thanks to a visual interface that allows budding developers to drag 'blocks' of commands into place. 'Flappy Bird recently met its untimely death. We might've been tempted to cry all day and give up on spreading computer science (not really, but R.I.P Flappy Bird),' read a note on Code.org's blog. 'Instead, we built a new drag-and-drop tutorial that lets you build your own Flappy game — whether it's Flappy Bird, or Flappy Easter Bunny, Flappy Santa, Flappy Shark with Lasers, Flappy Fairy or Flappy Underwater Unicorn.' Childish? Maybe. But it could help draw people into coding for fun or profit."

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Live Q&A With Ex-TSA Agent Jason Harrington Tomorrow 3pm ET
Posted by News Fetcher on February 27 '14 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's coming-soon department:
Jason Harrington's story pulling back the curtain on life as a TSA agent was an uncomfortable revelation to some, and a confirmation to many frustrated travelers. His descriptions of a typical day on the job highlighted why few in the security line were happy, including the agents: 'I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.' Jason will be sitting down with us tomorrow Friday, February 28th starting at 3pm ET (20:00 GMT) to talk with you live about security theater and life after the TSA.

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