ericgoldman writes "Terry Childs was a network engineer in San Francisco, and he was the only employee with passwords to the network. After he was fired, he withheld the passwords from his former employer, preventing his employer from controlling its own network. Recently, a California appeals court upheld his conviction for violating California's computer crime law, including a 4 year jail sentence and $1.5 million of restitution. The ruling (PDF) provides a good cautionary tale for anyone who thinks they can gain leverage over their employer or increase job security by controlling key passwords."
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sfcrazy writes "On Tuesday (Mangalwaar) the Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) will launch the Mars orbiter Mangalyaan from Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The spaceship will take over 10 months to reach Mars and, if everything goes well, it would make India the first country to send a payload to Mars in its first attempt, and would beat close rival China whose recent mission failed."
First time accepted submitter billcarson writes "Even though for most of us the recession is far from over, analysts are worried the technology sector might be near the end of a bubble. Technology stocks are at records highs at the moment. Companies that have no sound business plan have no difficulty in raising capital to fund their crazy dreams. Even Yahoo is again buying companies without real profit (Tumblr). Andreessen Horowitz, a major venture capitalist in Silicon Valley is already pulling up the ladder. Might this be an indicator for more woe to come?"
First time accepted submitter stanga writes "Cornell researchers unveiled an attack on the Bitcoin mining protocol that enables selfish mining pools to earn more than their fair share. In a technical report the authors explain this attack can be performed by a pool of any size. Rational miners will join this pool to increase their benefits, creating a snowball effect that may end up with a pool commanding a majority of the system's mining power. Such a pool would be able to single-handedly control the blockchain, violating the decentralized nature of the increasingly successful Bitcoin. The authors propose a patch to the protocol that would protect the system from selfish mining pools smaller than 25% of the system. They also show that Bitcoin can never be safe from selfish mining pools larger than 33% of the network, whereas it was previously believed that only groups larger than 50% of the network were a threat to the system. The question is — can the miners operating today adopt the suggested fix and dismantle too-large pools before a selfish mining pool arises?"
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, who shared a Pulitzer last year as part of the Associated Press team covering the NYPD's surveillance activity, have summed it up perfectly: The NYPD doesn't answer document requests. "For the most part, they don't respond," Apuzzo told the Huffington Post. 'Even the NSA responds.' It's not just reporters who've noticed. New York City Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio gave the police department a failing grade in an April report based on its dismal response rate to Freedom of Information requests. By de Blasio's analysis, nearly a third of requests submitted to NYPD go unanswered."
The Bad Astronomer writes "A new study, looking at over 40,000 stars viewed by the Kepler spacecraft, indicates that 22% of stars like the Sun should have Earth-like planets orbiting them — planets that are similar in size to our home world and with a surface temperature hospitable for liquid water. There are some caveats (they don't include atmospheric issues like the greenhouse effect, which may reduce the overall number, or at cooler stars where there may be many more such planets) but their numbers indicate there could be several billion planets similar to Earth in the Milky Way alone."
In this video, we continue our conversation with author David Craddock about his investigation into the early days of game studio Blizzard for his new book, Stay Awhile and Listen. He's joined by Dave Brevik and Max Schaefer, two of the co-founders of Blizzard North. They talk about keeping games accessible, the importance of getting the amount of background story right in Diablo, and whether the creators of these early games have any regrets about them. They also talk about designing The Butcher. (This is video part 2 of 2. The transcript of Part 1 is now available, too, if you care to go back and read it.)
Her bio says, "Esther Schindler has been writing about computers – with a particular focus on software development and open source – since the early 1990s. You’ve seen Esther’s byline in prominent IT publications, such as CIO.com, IT World, and IEEE Spectrum. She's written dozens of analyst reports for Evans Data about software development trends. Her name is on the cover of about a dozen books, including most recently The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Twitter Marketing. Esther is editor of a site for software developers, these days, while still freelancing occasionally for IT World (most recently The developer's guide to future car technology) and she writes a blog about project management." She submits her own work to Slashdot, and submits work for other writers, too. She may or may not be the most successful Slashdot submitter of all time, based on the percentage of her submissions that show up on the front page, but she is absolutely in the top 10. In this interview, she shares some of her secrets. Maybe Esther's thoughts will help you submit more successfully. (So will reading the Slashdot FAQ.)
EdIII writes "I've been looking for a decent contention service (4:1,10:1) in South America and I am not finding much. I have also heard that some frequency bands are a lot better at cutting through cloud cover. This is for a fairly remote ground station with reliable power generation, but also routinely cloudy. I would need at least 3/1Mbps with hopefully decent latency. What's your advice Slashdotters? Yes, I know that some of the solutions can cost 20K for deployment and 2-10K per month for service. Feel free to to tell me about a good commercial service. There is another ground station that might be deployed in north east Alaska."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Benchmarking is a tricky business: a valid benchmarking tries to remove all extraneous variables in order to get an accurate measurement, a process that's often problematic: sometimes it's nearly impossible to remove all outside influences, and often the process of taking the measurement can skew the results. In deciding to compare three compilers (the Intel C++ compiler, the GNU C++ compiler (g++), and the LLVM clang compiler), developer and editor Jeff Cogswell takes a number of 'real world' factors into account, such as how each compiler deals with templates, and comes to certain conclusions. 'It's interesting that the code built with the g++ compiler performed the best in most cases, although the clang compiler proved to be the fastest in terms of compilation time,' he writes. 'But I wasn't able to test much regarding the parallel processing with clang, since its Cilk Plus extension aren't quite ready, and the Threading Building Blocks team hasn't ported it yet.' Follow his work and see if you agree, and suggest where he can go from here."
Zothecula writes "When the last SR-71 Blackbird was grounded in 1998 it was a double blow. Not only did aviation lose one of the most advanced aircraft ever built, but also one of the most beautiful. Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works has now revealed that it is building a successor to the Blackbird: the SR-72. Using a new hypersonic engine design that combines turbines and ramjets, the company says that the unmanned SR-72 will be twice as fast as its predecessor with a cruising speed of Mach 6."
onehitwonder writes "In short, they build it themselves. When Tesla Motors needed to improve the back-end software that runs its business, CEO Elon Musk decided not to upgrade the company's SAP system. Instead, he told his CIO, Jay Vijayan, to have the IT organization build a new back-end system, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company's team of 25 software engineers developed the new system in about four months, and it provided the company with speed and agility at a time when it was experiencing costly delivery delays on its all-electric Model S."
minty3 writes "Nathan Gray, 10, from Nova Scotia, Canada, recently discovered a 600-million-year-old supernova in the galaxy PGC 61330, which lies in the constellation of Draco – beating his sister by 33 days as the youngest person to find a supernova. Gray made the discovery on October 30 while looking at astronomical images taken by Dave Lane, who runs the Abbey Ridge Observatory (ARO) in Nova Scotia. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada confirmed Gray's discovery, but astronomers with the International Astronomical Union say they will need to use a larger telescope to make the finding official."
TinTops writes "Tesco has sparked privacy concerns following its decision to install technology that scans shoppers' faces in order to display video advertising on screens at its petrol stations. The UK's privacy watchdog the ICO is looking into the technology. This is the first national rollout of the system, known as OptimEyes, which claims to recognize facial characteristics that determine a customer's gender and age in order to show more relevant video adverts on screens as they queue at the till. Simon Sugar, chief executive of Amscreen, the firm which sells the technology, has admitted it has connotations of science fiction, but is looking to increase its reach further. 'Yes, it's like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible,' he said."
angry tapir writes "A group of Microsoft researchers believe that using fuel cells to power data centers could potentially result in an 'over 20% reduction in costs using conservative projections', cutting infrastructure and power input costs. In addition, using fuel cells would likely result in a smaller carbon footprint for data centers. The researchers looked at the potential of using fuel cells at the rack level to power servers in data centers — although they note there is a long way to go before this could become a reality (not least of the small worldwide production level of fuel cells)."
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "A Harvard biologist was able to get an intentionally flawed paper accepted for publication by a number of open-access academic journals, included that had supposedly been vetted for quality by advocates of open access. It seems the problem could be mitigated by consolidating journals within a field, so that there are much fewer of them, publishing much more articles per journal -- so the review processes take the same amount of labor, but you have fewer journals that have to be audited for procedural honesty." Read on for the rest, including his idea to solve the problem of fraudulent submissions (or even just sub-par science) through simplification.
An anonymous reader writes in with some exciting news if you are a storage array manufacturer with a lot of money to spend on hard drives."HGST Monday announced that it's now shipping a helium-filled, 3.5-in hard disk drive with 50% more capacity than the current industry leading 4TB drives. The new drive uses 23% less power and is 38% lighter than the 4TB drives. Without changing the height, the new 6TB Ultrastar He6 enterprise-class hard drive crams seven disk platters into what was a five disk-platter, 4TB Ultrastar drive."
An anonymous reader writes "BlackBerry has abandoned plans to sell the company to Fairfax Holdings after the shareholder could not raise enough money. CEO Thorsten Heins is to leave the company. From the article: 'The company also said that Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will be appointed Lead Director and chair of the compensation, nomination and governance committee. Mr. Watsa had resigned from the BlackBerry board earlier this year to explore a bid for the company.'"
judgecorp writes "The Swiss government owned telco Swisscom is pitching a "Swiss Cloud" operator which promises to keep customers' credentials private in the wake of the NSA spying scandal. Switzerland has strict privacy laws, with which the Swisscom cloud complies, and the operator now wants to offer that more widely."
rtoz writes "For handling the future unreliable chips, a research group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has developed a new programming framework that enables software developers to specify when errors may be tolerable. The system then calculates the probability that the software will perform as it's intended. As transistors get smaller, they also become less reliable. This reliability won't be a major issue in some cases. For example, if few pixels in each frame of a high-definition video are improperly decoded, viewers probably won't notice — but relaxing the requirement of perfect decoding could yield gains in speed or energy efficiency."
wjcofkc writes "In the turbulent wake of the international uproar spurred by his leaked documents, Mr. Snowden published a letter over the weekend in Der Spiegel titled, "A Manifesto for the Truth". In the letter, Mr. Snowden reflects on the consequences of the information released so far, and their effect on exposing the extent and obscenity of international and domestic surveillance, while continuing to call out the NSA and GCHQ as the worst offenders. He further discusses how the debate should move forward, the intimidation of journalists, and the criminalization of the truth saying, 'Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Brian Tumulty writes at USA Today that the union representing airport screeners for the Transportation Security Administration says Friday's fatal shooting of an agent at Los Angeles International Airport highlights the need for armed security officers at every airport checkpoint. The screeners, who earn up to $30,000 annually, have not requested to carry guns themselves, but they do want an armed security officer present at every checkpoint says J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the screeners. "Every local airport has its own security arrangement with local police to some type of contract security force," says Cox. "There is no standardization throughout the country. Every airport operates differently. Obviously at L.A. there were a fair number of local police officers there." Congress may investigate the issue but Sen. Tom Carper, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, says that "there will be an appropriate time — after all the facts have been gathered and thoughtfully analyzed —to review existing policy and procedure to see what, if anything, can be learned from this unfortunate incident to help prevent future tragedies." TSA officials say that they don't anticipate a change in the agency security posture at the moment, but "passengers may see an increased presence of local law enforcement officers throughout the country.""
Ars Technica reports, probably to no one's surprise, that U.S. elected officials are unlikely to start seeing Edward Snowden as a righteous whistleblower rather than a traitor to the U.S. government. From the article:"[Sunday], the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and her House counterpart, Mike Rogers (R-MI), both emphasized there would be no mercy coming from Washington. 'He was trusted; he stripped our system; he had an opportunity—if what he was, was a whistle-blower—to pick up the phone and call the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and say I have some information,' Feinstein told CBS' Face The Nation. 'But that didn’t happen. He’s done this enormous disservice to our country, and I think the answer is no clemency.'"
ABC News reports that "A volcano in western Indonesia erupted again Sunday, unleashing volcanic ash high into the sky and forcing the evacuation of villagers living around its slope. Officials raised Mount Sinabung's alert status to the second-highest level after the 2,600-meter (8,530-foot) -high mountain erupted early Sunday, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. Authorities were working to evacuate residents from four North Sumatra province villages located within the mountain's three-kilometer (two-mile) danger zone, Nugroho said. About 1,300 villagers have been relocated to safer areas so far. It was the volcano's second big eruption since late last month, with its Oct. 24 explosion prompting the evacuation of more than 3,300 people." This video of Sinabung's 2010 eruption gives some clue about what to expect.
angry tapir writes "A Kickstarter project is aiming to bring an inexpensive 9-inch portable monitor to the popular US$25 Raspberry Pi PC, which comes without a keyboard, mouse or monitor. The "HDMIPi" will include an LCD panel that will show images at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. Computers can be hooked up to the monitor via an HDMI controller board that can be wired to the LCD. The display is being made by Raspi.TV and Cyntech."