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+ - 157 Controversial cyber threat bill CISPA may return to Congress->

Submitted by quantr
quantr (1722336) writes "After suffering defeat this spring, the controversial legislation aimed at preventing cyber threats, CISPA, may be returning to the Senate. According to Mother Jones, two senators are now working on a new version of the bill that looks to curb some of the concerns that kept it from initially passing. The goal of the bill will still be to make it easier for private companies to share information with the government regarding cyber threats, however the type of information that can be shared will reportedly be narrower in scope this time around.
As the legislation is still being written, it's not clear exactly how different its updated form will be. Mother Jones reports that Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) are working together to draft the bill. "The goal is to allow and encourage the sharing only of information related to identifying and protecting against cyber threats, and not the communications and commerce of Americans," Feinstein's office tells Mother Jones in a statement. Feinstein in particular has been a major proponent for facilitating this type of sharing, having also been in support of expanding FISA."

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+ - 261 Oregon launching new program to tax drivers per mile->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Oregon is moving ahead with a controversial plan to tax motorists based on the number of miles they drive as opposed to the amount of fuel they consume, raising myriad concerns about cost and privacy.

The problem for lawmakers is that the existing per-gallon gas tax has hit a point of diminishing returns, as Americans drive less and vehicles become more fuel efficient.

Economists and civil libertarians are concerned about the Oregon pilot project in large part because some mileage meters can track and record residents’ every vehicular move. Rick Geddes, a Cornell University professor, said the basic device is okay because it is simply attached to a vehicle’s computer, which cannot track locations.

However, Geddes said privacy concerns could resurface should governments expand the program and use SmartPhone or apps to track movements and reward motorists who avoid congested roads and drive during off-peak hours.

Mark Perry, a University of Michigan scholar, says the GPS or “black box” system is "particularly untenable.”"

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+ - 329 Accidentally Revealed Document Shows TSA Doesn't Think Terrorists Are Plotting -> 1

Submitted by quantr
quantr (1722336) writes "Jonathan Corbett, a long-time vocal critic of TSA body scanners, has been engaged in a lawsuit against the government concerning the constitutionality of those scanners. In the course of the case, the TSA gave him classified documents, which he was ordered not to reveal. In using some of that information to make his case, he needed to file two copies of his brief: a public one with classified stuff redacted, and the full brief under seal, for the government and the courts to look at. Just one problem: someone over at Infowars noticed that apparently a clerk at the 11th Circuit appeals court forgot to file the document under seal, allowing them to find out what was under the redactions... Included in there is the following, apparently quoted from the TSA's own statements:
“As of mid-2011, terrorist threat groups present in the Homeland are not known to be actively plotting against civil aviation targets or airports; instead, their focus is on fundraising, recruiting, and propagandizing.”
Elsewhere, the TSA appears to admit that "due to hardened cockpit doors and the willingness of passengers to challenge hijackers," it's unlikely that there's much value in terrorists trying to hijack a plane these days (amusingly, that statement is a clear echo of Bruce Schneier's statement criticizing the TSA's security theater — suggesting that the TSA flat out knows that airport security is nothing more than such theatrics).

Elsewhere, in the redacted portions, the TSA is quoted as admitting that "there have been no attempted domestic hijackings of any kind in the 12 years since 9/11.""

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+ - 163 Facebook lets beheading clips return to social network->

Submitted by theMassOfToe
theMassOfToe (1185695) writes "Facebook has de facto become an arbiter of morality whether it likes or not.

After a few months, it has rescinded a temporary ban on beheading videos and such like. I consider myself a fairly liberal person, support the Electronic Frontier Foundation and all that, but I can't understand any justification for this. How is hosting videos of extremely violent crime (including murder) different from hosting video of (extremely violent) sex crime? Presumably the latter is illegal (certainly as far as minors are concerned), but the former is left up to whether Facebook can be bothered. We're not talking video game violence or anything — there is meant to be no suspension of disbelief here. Most people here are deeply anti-censorship, but surely this kind of stuff shouldn't be available on such a mainstream website?"

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+ - 170 New Methods Can Halt the Process of Dying

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "It was once thought that after the heart stops pumping blood throughout the body, a person has only few minutes before suffering permanent brain damage caused by lack of oxygen and nutrients getting to the brain cells. Now Discovery Magazine reports that developments in the science of resuscitation have made it possible to revive people even hours after their heart has stopped beating and they are declared dead. "Historically, when a person's heart stopped and they stopped breathing, for all intents and purposes, they were dead," says Dr. Sam Parnia adding that this process "could take hours of time, and we could potentially reverse that." Some insights for how to halt the dying process come from case reports of people who were brought back to life with little or no brain damage after hours of a silenced brain and heart. Studies have found that hypothermia seems to protect the brain by decreasing its need for oxygen and aborting activated cell death pathways. Still, there are limits — although body-cooling techniques have improved recovery in many patients after cardiac arrest, there will be a moment when the damage is too much and it's too late to come back. "When somebody's been without oxygen, we know there’s a whole bunch of signals that are now starting to tell cells that it's time to die. So we have an opportunity to modify that programing just a little bit, to say 'wait put the brakes on,'" says Dr. Lance Becker. However, Dr. Stephan Mayer argues that our knowledge of brain damage and dying is incomplete, and it's not always clear how much injury one has endured, and whether it's reversible. "What we've come to learn is that those notions of irreversibility of brain damage are dead wrong," Mayer said. "If you make those judgments too soon without going fully all the way, you may be actually writing people off.""

+ - 155 Dexterous Mobile Robot Runs Linux and ROS->

Submitted by DeviceGuru
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "Unbounded Robotics, one of several spinoffs from Silicon Valley-based robotics lab Willow Garage, has announced UBR-1, a mobile manipulation robot designed for research and business automation. UBR-1 runs Ubuntu Linux along with Robot Operating System (ROS), has a 7 degrees-of-freedom arm with a dexterous gripper, and moves at speeds up to 1 meter per second. Among the founders of Unbounded Robotics is CEO Melonee Wise, who was the chief developer of the PR2, the similar flagship robot of Willow Garage. UBR-1 will open for pre-orders soon, starting at $35,000 and with shipments planned for next summer. While that price may seem high, it's lower than similar dexterous manipulation robots of its caliber, and only about a tenth that of Willow Garage's PR2."
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+ - 196 Cow Burps Tapped For Fuel-> 2

Submitted by Dave Knott
Dave Knott (2917251) writes "Argentine scientists have found a way to transform the gas created by the bovine digestive system into fuel, an innovation that could curb greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Using a system of valves and pumps, the experimental technique developed by Argentina's National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) channels the digestive gases from bovine stomach cavities through a tube and into a tank. The gases — which otherwise are commonly known as burps, or "eruptos" in Spanish — are then processed to separate methane from other gases such as carbon dioxide. Each head of cattle emits between 250 and 300 liters of pure methane a day, enough energy to keep a refrigerator running for 24 hours."
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+ - 161 Windows 8.1 Apps Will Run on Xbox One-> 1

Submitted by cold fjord
cold fjord (826450) writes "DailyTech reports, "While many people scoffed at or failed to recognized the significance of Microsoft Corp.'s talk of a "unified" development path for Windows, Xbox, and Windows Phone, the real world rammifications of that approach are now becoming clear and they're significant. A pre-order page from Dell for the Xbox One "accidentally" (and, it appears, officially) revealed that Windows 8.1 apps will run on the Xbox. This is a major boost as it means that reverse is also likely true — most Xbox One (non-game) apps will run on Windows 8.1. ... For Windows 8.1 this could provide a substantial boost as Xbox has been a strong selling line in the console market and prior to recent controversies has had one of the best brand images of a Microsoft product. At the same time, while much maligned, Windows 8 has seen decent adoption, even if adoption rates remain poor by Microsoft's standards. Allowing any Windows 8.1 app to run on the Xbox One will mean a wealth of apps will be available at launch day without having to woo developers to commit, and without developers having to write custom code.""
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+ - 207 Simple Bug Exposed Verizon Users' SMS Histories

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "A security researcher discovered a simple vulnerability in Verizon Wireless’s Web-based customer portal that enabled anyone who knows a subscriber’s phone number to download that user’s SMS message history, including the numbers of the people he communicated with.

The vulnerability, which has been resolved now, resulted from a failure of the Verizon Web app to check that a number entered into the app actually belonged to the user who was entering it. After entering the number, a user could then download a spreadsheet file of the SMS activity on a target account. Cody Collier, the researcher who discovered the vulnerability, said he decided right away to report it to Verizon because he is a Verizon customer and didn’t want others to have access to his account information.

“I am a Verizon Wireless customer myself, so upon finding this, I immediately looked for a way to contact Verizon. I wouldn’t want my account information to exposed in such way,” Collier said via email."

+ - 178 Legal Advice or Loopholes Needed for Manned Space Program->

Submitted by Kristian vonBengtson
Kristian vonBengtson (3027633) writes "A DIY manned space program like Copenhagen Suborbitals is kept alive by keeping total independence, cutting the red tape and simply just doing it all in a garage. We basically try to stay below the radar at all time and are reluctant in engagements leading to signing papers or do things (too much) by the books.

But now there might be trouble ahead..
Saul goodman! We need you..."

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+ - 280 Finnish Team Makes Diabetes Vaccine Breakthrough->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "A team working at Tampere University, Finland has discovered the virus that causes type 1 diabetes. The enterovirus penetrates the pancreas and destroys insulin-producing cells, eventually causing diabetes. Researchers have looked at more than a hundred different strains of the virus and pinpointed five that could cause diabetes. They believe they could produce a vaccine against those strains. One virus type has been identified to carry the biggest risk. A vaccine could also protect against its close relatives, to give the best possible effect. A similar enterovirus causes polio, which has been almost eradicated in many parts of the world thanks to vaccination programmes. A prototype diabetes vaccine has already been produced and tested on animals. Taking the vaccine through a clinical trial would cost some 700 million euros. Some funding is in place from the United States and from Europe, but more is required. Professor Heikki Hyöty says that money is the biggest obstacle in moving to testing in humans, but he sees that people are interested in their research and that the funding problems will ultimately be solved."
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+ - 260 How to choose frameworks that will survive 2

Submitted by waslap
waslap (1453217) writes "I occupy a leading role at a small software development company and am tasked with giving guidance and making decisions on tool usage within the shop. I find the task of choosing frameworks to use within our team, and specifically UI frameworks, exceedingly difficult. A couple of years back my investigation of RIA frameworks lead me to eventually push for Adobe Flex as the UI framework of choice for our future web development. Bear in mind this was long before anyone predicted that the wheels on flash would come off (in any event on Linux). I chose it mainly for its maturity, wealth of documentation, commercial backing and the superior abilities of flash in a time when HTML 5 was still a pipe dream. The backing of an industry giant in Adobe gave me a false sense of security that the kit would not go down the cul-de-sac of so many open source projects before it. We invested heavily in it just to be disillusioned a couple of years later when Linux support for flash was killed off (Linux support is vital for us for reasons outside the scope of what I have space for here). Ironically, I evaluated it alongside OpenLaszlo which at the time had the ability to use a DHTML back-end instead of flash with the flick of a switch and in retrospect, this alone seemingly made it the better choice in the long run regardless of its flaky state when I first looked at it. A similar scenario arose with CodeIgniter which we chose for getting away from classical spaghetti PHP just to be recently dropped like a hot potato after we've invested a Tesla Model X worth of money into using it. Conversely, about 15 odd years back, I made a switch to Qt for desktop applications and against all odds it is still around and thriving. I am trying to figure out why it was the right choice and the others not. All I could come up with is that Qt's design was done so well and sound that it basically could not be improved upon but I'm not even sure whether that assessment is accurate.
I am standing at a cross-roads once again as everyone is shouting Laravel and what have you not and I am scratching my (sore) head how to prevent the same ill-fated choice going forward as it seems there is just no way to predict whether a tool will survive or not and your investment in it dwindle. Even in retrospect, looking at my decision making process, everything looked healthy and sound at the time I made the choices but yet it turned out to be the wrong ones and I cannot come up with a sound decision tree from my experiences to assist me in making choices with staying power. That's where I hope the esteemed Slashdot readers could come in and provide some helpful inputs on the matter to provide a set of fail-safe axioms."

+ - 247 CryptoSeal shuts down VPN service. NSA suspect.->

Submitted by sl4shd0rk
sl4shd0rk (755837) writes "CryptoSeal Privacy, a consumer VPN service, has apparently shuttered it's doors saying it has immediately zeroed it's crypto keys citing "it is impossible for us to continue offering the CryptoSeal Privacy consumer VPN product." the statement goes further with a warning: "For anyone operating a VPN, mail, or other communications provider in the US, we believe it would be prudent to evaluate whether a pen register order could be used to compel you to divulge SSL keys protecting message contents, and if so, to take appropriate action,". Sounds like another victim of FISA endorsed illegal NSA activity."
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+ - 258 A Live Map of Ongoing DDoS Attacks->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "It's the Digital Attack Map, and it was produced in a collaborative effort by Google Ideas and Arbor Networks to raise awareness about distributed denial of service attacks. You know, those malicious digital attempts to choke, or shutdown websites by sending them volumes of traffic far too large for them to handle. The map "surfaces anonymous attack traffic data to let users explore historic trends and find reports of outages happening on a given day," as its about page explains. Created using attack data from Arbor’s "ATLAS® global threat intelligence system," this is the D.A.R.E. of DDoS—it's about the danger of having information streams cut off. Under the heading "DDoS Attacks Matter," Google and Arbor explain that "sites covering elections are brought down to influence their outcome, media sites are attacked to censor stories, and businesses are taken offline by competitors looking for a leg up.""
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+ - 193 Facebook lets beheading clips return to social network->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Facebook is allowing videos showing people being decapitated to be posted and shared on its site once again.

The social network had placed a temporary ban on the material in May following complaints that the clips could cause long-term psychological damage.

The US firm now believes its users should be free to watch and condemn, but not celebrate, such videos. One suicide prevention charity criticised the move.

"It only takes seconds of exposure to such graphic material to leave a permanent trace — particularly in a young person's mind," said Dr Arthur Cassidy, a former psychologist who runs a branch of the Yellow Ribbon Program in Northern Ireland. "The more graphic and colourful the material is, the more psychologically destructive it becomes."

Decapitation videos are available elsewhere on the net — including on Google's YouTube — but critics have raised concern that Facebook's news feeds and other sharing functions mean it is particularly adept at spreading such material."

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+ - 175 A Possible Cure for Baldness, in 3D->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Scientists have successfully grown new hair follicles from the skin cells of balding men. While the research team hasn’t yet shown whether the structures, which produce strands of hair on our bodies, are fully functional and usable for transplants onto a scalp, experts say the discovery is a significant step toward finding new treatments for hair loss. Previous attempts used standard two-dimensional cell culturing techniques, but the new works grows the follicles in suspended droplets, better replicating the 3-D environment of the body. Using one’s own cells to generate new follicles is useful because hair color and thickness will match perfectly with the rest of someone’s head of hairs. And with the new technique, clinicians would be able to take just a few dermal papilla cells from a balding patient and expand the number of hair follicles available for transplant, rather than only be able to move follicles around."
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+ - 178 'Pushback': Resisting the life of constant connectivity->

Submitted by vinces99
vinces99 (2792707) writes "Researchers at the University of Washington have studied and named a trend lots of people can identify with: the desire to resist constant connectivity and step back from the online world. “We call this ‘pushback,’” said Ricardo Gomez, assistant professor in the UW Information School and co-author of a paper to be presented at the iConference in Berlin in early 2014. The researchers looked closely at instances of pushback against technology, reviewing 73 sources divided equally among three areas of online expression: personal blogs and websites, popular media sources and academic conferences and journals. Gomez said they thought they’d find frustration with devices, costs or learning new technologies as key pushback motivations. Instead, the reasons were more emotionally based, with “dissatisfaction” — the thought that users’ needs are not really being met by technology — most often expressed, followed by political, religious or moral concerns. Other motivations were the wish to regain control of time and energy and fear of addiction to the technology. Among the least-often reported objections were worries about loss of privacy."
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+ - 243 Biological Clock Discovered That Measures Ages Of Most Human Tissues->

Submitted by starr802
starr802 (2949817) writes "A biological clock capable of determining how old different human tissues and cells are has been discovered by a team of researchers from the University of California Los Angeles.

"To fight aging, we first need an objective way of measuring it. Pinpointing a set of biomarkers that keeps time throughout the body has been a four-year challenge," Steve Horvath, a professor of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and of biostatistics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health said in a statement. "My goal in inventing this clock is to help scientists improve their understanding of what speeds up and slows down the human aging process.""

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+ - 138 Connecting to unsecured Bluetooth car systems to monitor traffic flow.

Submitted by TheTerseOne
TheTerseOne (2447418) writes "The Columbian, the local newspaper of Vancouver (not BC), Washington (not DC) is reporting that local country traffic officials plan on spending $540k of government money to monitor traffic by connecting to vehicles whose owners/drivers have left their Bluetooth car systems 'discoverable.' The county claims that, although this sounds "creepy" and "like big brother" there is no cause for concern. The specific brand of the system is not mentioned, but similar systems have already been the subject of security alerts."

+ - 301 Experian sold social security numbers to ID Theft Service

Submitted by realized
realized (2472730) writes "Experian — one of the three national US credit bureaus — reportedly sold SSNs through its subsidiary, Court Ventures, to the operators of who then offered all of the information online for a price. The website would advertise having "99% to 100% of all USA" in their database on websites frequented by carders.

Hieu Minh Ngo, the website owner, has recently been charged with 15-count indictment filed under seal in November 2012, charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, substantive wire fraud, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, substantive identity fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, and substantive access device fraud."

+ - 272 Most IT workers DON'T have STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) degrees->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Wall Street Journal's Michael Totty shares some stereotype-shattering statistics about IT workers: Most of them don't have college degrees in computer science, technology, engineering or math. About a third come to IT with degrees in business, social sciences or other nontechnical fields, while more than 40% of computer support specialists and a third of computer systems administrators don't have a college degree at all!

The analysis is based upon two job categories as defined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics: network and computer systems administrator, and computer support specialist."

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+ - 174 Fixing - 5 Million Lines Of Code To Fix And "Weeks" Of Work-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Administration officials approached the contractors last week to see if they could perform the necessary repairs and reboot the system by Nov. 1. ... Some specialists working on the project said the online system required such extensive repairs that it might not operate smoothly until after the Dec. 15 deadline for people to sign up for coverage ... experts said the technological problems of the site went far beyond the roadblocks to creating accounts that continue to prevent legions of users from even registering. ... One specialist said that as many as five million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web site runs properly. ... One major problem slowing repairs ... the federal agency in charge of the exchange, is responsible for making sure that the separately designed databases and pieces of software from 55 contractors work together. ... and numerous people involved in the project said the agency did not have the expertise to do the job ... Insurance executives said in interviews that they were frustrated because they did not know the government’s plan or schedule ... the system provides them with incorrect information about some enrollees, repeatedly enrolls and cancels the enrollments of others, and simply loses the enrollments of still others. .... CGI Federal, a unit of the CGI Group, ... has the biggest contract and is responsible for the architecture of major parts of the system, but not for its integration."
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+ - 158 Ailing Obamacare Site To Get A 'Tech Surge'-> 1

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "It's no secret that the website has been plagued by problems since its launch 3 weeks ago. On Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services said that it's now bringing in the big guns: 'Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the [HHS] team and help improve,' the blog post reads. 'We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them.' Other emergency measures being taken as part of what HHS calls a 'tech surge' include defining new test processes to prevent new problems and regularly patching bugs during off-peak hours. Still unclear is how long it will take to fix the site. As recently reported on Slashdot, that could be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months."
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+ - 225 New York City To Get Manhole Covers That Wirelessly Charge Electric Vehicles->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "A new project between NYU and start-up HEVO Power will disguise wireless charging stations in manhole covers. The wireless charing stations are aimed at providing fleets of delivery vehicles with power in parking spaces around the city. Next year, Toyota plans to test a wireless charging Prius in Japan, Europe. And, U.S. Auto electronics giant Delphi is developing technology for electric vehicles that could be used industrywide. The charging stations could be embedded in asphalt or pads that lay on garage floors. Wireless charging, however, still has many obstacles to overcome, including the time it takes to recharge a vehicle, cost to deploy the technology and power loss during electrical transfer."
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+ - 233 Physicist Unveils A 'Turing Test' For Free Will ->

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The problem of free will is one of the great unsolved puzzles in science, not to mention philosophy, theology, jurisprudence and so on. The basic question is whether we are able to make decisions for ourselves or whether the outcomes are predetermined and the notion of choice is merely an illusion. Now a leading theoretical physicist has outlined a ‘Turing Test’ for free will and says that while simple devices such as thermostats cannot pass, more complex ones like iPhones might. The test is based on an extension of Turing’s halting problem in computer science. This states that there is no general way of knowing how an algorithm will finish, other than to run it. This means that when a human has to make a decision, there is no way of knowing in advance how it will end up. In other words, the familiar feeling of not knowing the final decision until it is thought through is a necessary feature of the decision-making process and why we have the impression of free will. This leads to a simple set of questions that forms a kind of Turing test for free will. These show how simple decision-making devices such as thermostats cannot believe they have free will while humans can. A more interesting question relates to decision-makers of intermediate complexity, such as an iPhone. As the author puts it, this seems to possess all the criteria required for free will, and behaves as if it has it".""
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+ - 210 NSA is intercepting French telephone calls "on a massive scale"

Submitted by rtoz
rtoz (2530056) writes "The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting French telephone calls “on a massive scale”, according to a report published in Le Monde.

According to Le Monde, the NSA recorded millions of telephone calls placed by French citizens over a 30-day period last year, including some placed by people with no connections to terrorist organizations.

France called in the U.S. ambassador to protest at allegations in Le Monde newspaper about large-scale spying on French citizens by NSA."

+ - 139 UK govt splashes out £500k on 3D printers for school IT lessons->

Submitted by DW100
DW100 (2227906) writes "In a shocking example of a government being proactive and taking the initiative in a growing area of technology, the UK government has announced plans for £500,000 of funding to be given to schools so they can buy 3D printers to help boost the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths. So now pupils can give teachers a 3D printed apple..."
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+ - 203 Obamacare Website violates GPL->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "According to the Weekly Standard, the troubled Healthcare Marketplace website ( uses code from, dual-licensed under GPL 2 or a BSD license, without attribution, even going so far as to remove the copyright notice. While the effort is undoubtedly a complex software engineering project, the lack of scruples is only slightly more troubling that the engine was designed by a company that apparently didn't realize that client-side code is easy to examine."
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+ - 154 The Dark Mod 2.0 Standalone: Id Tech 4 GPL yields a free Thief-a-like game-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "After 9 years of development, The Dark Mod is now a Standalone Game. Thief fans can now enjoy over 60 fan made missions which capture the essence of the Thief 1 \ 2 games. Originally created as a reaction to Thief 3; with the upcoming release of Thief 4, many are comparing what was done here (a faithful extension of the old gameplay) to what Eidos has shown thus far. Can a little Doom 3 mod compete against a blockbuster AAA title? Should we even compare them?"
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"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson