New submitter aberglas writes "The conservative government's George Brandis wants to force ISPs to block sites that might infringe copyright. Brandis said he stood firmly on the side of content creators (a.k.a. Hollywood). Ban gross violators today, obscure ones tomorrow, porn sites, far left sites the day after..." From the article, too, this snippet: "The federal government is also considering implementing a "graduated response scheme" that could lead to consumers' internet accounts being temporarily suspended if they ignore notifications to stop downloading illegal content." Shades of the Copyright Alert System.
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Koreantoast writes "The United States' surprisingly poor performance in speedskating, despite strong performances in recent World Cup events, has been blamed in part on an untested speedskating suit. The Mach 39, designed through a joint venture between Under Armour and Lockheed Martin, was supposed to provide Team USA with a high tech advantage, using advanced fluid dynamic models and a dimpled surface to disrupt air flow and improve comfort. Instead, performances have been disastrous thus far, with athletes going as far as modifying their suits at the Olympics to try and reverse their fortunes. The suits have caused enough concerns that U.S. Speedskating is taking the unusual step of seeking special dispensation from International Skating Union to ditch the high tech suits and switch back to their old uniforms. Teams are normally required to keep the same equipment through the entire Games. Insert jokes and comparisons to Lockheed's more famous product, the JSF, here."
Lucas123 writes "Music streaming services, forced to give from 60% to 70% of their revenue to the record industry, will never be profitable in their current state, a new report shows. Unless the services can monetize their user base by entering new product and service categories, or they can sell themselves to a larger company that can sustain them, they're doomed to fail. One method that subscription services might be able to use to achieve profitability is to up sell mobile deals or bundles to subscribers. For example, a select package of mobile services would be sold through the music service provider, the report from Generator Research suggested. 'Services like iTunes Match and Google and Amazon are already heading in this direction,' the report states. Another possibility would be for a larger company to purchase the music service or for the service to begin offering sanitized user behavioral data to advertisers, who could then better target a customer base."
itwbennett writes "Google has done what the European Commission declined to do: publish the details of the latest commitments Google made in a bid to settle a long-running antitrust case involving its treatment of rival specialist search services, among other matters. On the company's European policy blog, Google's senior vice president and general counsel, Kent Walker, announced the publication of what he called the 'full text' (PDF) of the company's commitments. In fact, the 93-page document contains a number of redactions, including details of a parameter used to rank search results, the identities of two companies with customized contracts for Adsense For Search, and a proposal for modification of those contracts to comply with the other commitments."
david.emery writes "According to this story, Target's own internal computer security team raised concerns months before the retailer lost millions of credit card numbers in an attack. (Quoting a paywalled story in the Wall Street Journal.) Target's management allegedly 'brushed them off.' 'At least one analyst at the Minneapolis-based retailer wanted to do a more thorough security review of its payment system.' This raises a more general question for the Slashdot community: how many of you have identified vulnerabilities in your company's/client's systems, only to be 'brushed off?' If the company took no action, did they ultimately suffer a breach?"
An anonymous reader writes "Photographer Maxwell Jackson went to an event called The Color Run and took some pictures. He was approached by the organization to share some of his photos on Facebook, and he agreed. Later, he found they were being used without attribution in promotional materials such as flyers and signs. When he contacted The Color Run over the misuse of his photos, they sued him. As a professional freelance photographer for a local college and a hobbyist code junky, I'm intrigued by this story and how it should be a warning for members of either trade. There is a good lesson to be learned here about taking for granted the legal implications of the manner in which you exchange your own intellectual property with anyone."
cartechboy writes "The safety headlines involving the Tesla Model S were a mixed bag last year. The good news was the Model S received a top safety rating, but the bad news came with three of those electric cars catching fire after receiving damage to the battery packs. (Though coverage of the latter was disproportionate to the coverage of fires in other types of vehicle.) Now another Tesla Model S has caught fire, but this time the car was parked and unplugged. The fire happened earlier this morning in the owner's garage in Toronto, Ontario. At this time no one knows what sparked the fire, but we do know the vehicle was only about four months old. Again, it wasn't plugged into a charging station, and it wasn't turned on. With no one near it. Interestingly, the battery on this particular Model S was unscathed by the fire. In fact, the Toronto fire department says the fire didn't originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or electrical receptacle since all of those components weren't touched by the fire. So, how did this Tesla fire happen, and will this blow up into a larger issue for the new automaker?"
RichDiesal writes "A new report (PDF) from the National Science Foundation, which we discussed a few days ago, states that roughly 40% of Americans believe astrology to be scientific. This turns out to be false; most of those apparently astrology-loving Americans have actually confused astrology with astronomy. In a 100-person Mechanical Turk study with a $5 research budget, I tested this by actually asking people to define astrology. Among those that correctly defined astrology, only 10% believe it to be scientific; among those that confused astrology for astronomy, 92% believe 'astrology' to be scientific."
Computerworld reports on an analysis of census data to compare marriage rates for different professions. They found the rate for tech workers to be similar to that of other white-collar professions, and significantly higher than the rate for the general population. 62.1% of people with IT jobs are married, as are 56.5% of scientists and 65.5% of engineers. This compares well to people in legal professions (62.0%), medical jobs (61.3%), and finance (62.4%). 51% of the adult U.S. population was married as of the 2010 census. Tech workers do have a slightly higher percentage of people who have never married — 26.7% of IT workers and 31.9% of scientists — but they also have slightly fewer divorces.
An anonymous reader writes "Lately, with the volatility of the economy, I have been thinking of expanding my education to reach into other areas related to my career. I have a computer science degree from Purdue and have been employed as a firmware engineer for 10+ years writing C and C++. I like what I do, but to me it seems that most job opportunities are available for people with skills in higher level languages such as ASP, .NET, C#, PHP, Scripting, Web applications and so on. Is it worth going back to school to get this training? I was thinking that a computer information technology degree would fit the bill, but I am concerned that going back to college would require a lot of time wasted doing electives and taking courses that don't get to the 'meat' of the learning. What would you do?"
New submitter Benzainload895 writes "The Verge has an article about why life on other worlds would be far stranger than we might expect. They also interview some astronomers who are trying to narrow down the most likely locations for life. Quoting: 'As it turns out, the small planets with long orbits that Kepler was finding were the ones it was least disposed to find. [After estimating how often red dwarf stars have planets and taking into account their expanded habitable zones, they] came up with an estimate Cowan says is "starting to get really close to a hundred percent, where for every [red dwarf] out there you should expect there to be a habitable rocky planet." Furthermore, research exploring these planets suggests weirdness — and lots of it — in what life they might harbor. For instance, the dim light coming from a red dwarf may not be enough for plant photosynthesis like on Earth. This may lead plants to be black instead of green in order to absorb more available light. Even weirder, these planets likely don't spin as they orbit. Since red dwarfs are smaller and cooler than the sun, planets circle them at close range, creating greater tidal forces than on our planet. While the tidal force on Earth moves the ocean up and down a few meters, that force on a red dwarf planet would be so strong it'd gradually slow down the rotation of planet completely. The result? One side of the planet would face its star in a permanently sunny day, while the other side would face the stars in an endless night."
GuerillaRadio writes "Following the decision for Debian to switch to the systemd init system, Ubuntu founder and SABDFL Mark Shuttleworth has posted a blog entry indicating that Ubuntu will now follow in this decision. 'Nevertheless, the decision is for systemd, and given that Ubuntu is quite centrally a member of the Debian family, that's a decision we support. I will ask members of the Ubuntu community to help to implement this decision efficiently, bringing systemd into both Debian and Ubuntu safely and expeditiously.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Nearly 30 years after Super Mario Bros., video game graphics have advanced to heights that once seemed impossible. Modern sports games are fueled by motion capture of actual athletes, and narrative-driven adventures can seem more like interactive movies than games. But gaming's increasing realism brings a side effect — a game can now fall into the 'uncanny valley,' a term coined by robotics professor Masahiro Mori of the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1970. Jon Brodkin talked to game developers, engineers, motion scientists and a variety of other folks about the 'uncanny valley problem,' in which (some) people feel revolted when confronted by a robot or digital character that doesn't quite look real. In games where human-like characters are necessary, the uncanny valley can be an even bigger problem than in animated movies; gamers control characters rather than just watching them, creating more opportunities for the illusion of realism to falter. New and better tools can help developers and animators deal with some of these issues, but crossing the 'valley' successfully still remains a challenge. Or is crossing it even possible at all?"
An anonymous reader writes "Rick Webb has an article suggesting we're in the nascent stages of transforming to a post-scarcity economy — one in which we are 'no longer constrained by scarcity of materials—food, energy, shelter, etc.' While we aren't there yet, job automation continues to rise and the problem of distributing necessities gets closer to being solved every day. Webb wondered how to describe a society's progress as it made the transition from scarcity to post-scarcity — and it brought him to Star Trek. Quoting: 'I believe the Federation is a proto-post scarcity society evolved from democratic capitalism. It is, essentially, European socialist capitalism vastly expanded to the point where no one has to work unless they want to. It is massively productive and efficient, allowing for the effective decoupling of labor and salary for the vast majority (but not all) of economic activity. The amount of welfare benefits available to all citizens is in excess of the needs of the citizens. Therefore, money is irrelevant to the lives of the citizenry, whether it exists or not. Resources are still accounted for and allocated in some manner, presumably by the amount of energy required to produce them (say Joules). And they are indeed credited to and debited from each citizen's "account." However, the average citizen doesn't even notice it, though the government does, and again, it is not measured in currency units—definitely not Federation Credits.'"
beaverdownunder writes "Facebook has recognized it's a gender-diverse world — at least in the U.S. In addition to Male or Female, Facebook now lets U.S. users choose among some 50 additional options such as 'transgender,' 'cisgender,' 'gender fluid,' 'intersex' and 'neither.' 'Users also now have the ability to choose the pronoun they would like to be referred to publicly: he/his, she/her, or the gender-neutral they/their.' A post on Facebook's Diversity page said, 'When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just "male" or "female." ...We also have added the ability for people to control the audience with whom they want to share their custom gender. We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way.'"
SpacemanukBEJY.53u writes "Alex Holden of Hold Security has come forward with a significant find: a 7,000-strong list of FTP sites run by a variety of companies, complete with login credentials. The affected companies include The New York Times and UNICEF. The hackers have uploaded malicious PHP scripts in some cases, perhaps as a launch pad for further attacks. The passwords for the FTP applications are complex and not default ones, indicating the hackers may have other malware installed on people's systems in those organizations."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "As the number of students attending colleges and universities has steadily increased and the cost for most students has climbed even faster, student debt figures (both total and per person) have continued to get bigger. Now Josh Freedman at Forbes Magazine proposes a graduate tax-funded system of higher education, under which students would pay nothing to attend college upfront. Instead, once they graduate and move out of their parents' basements, they would begin to pay an additional income tax (say, for example, three percent) on their earnings that would fund higher education. 'In other words, the current crop of college graduates funds the current crop of college students, and so on down the line. There is no debt taken on by students, which minimizes risk (good); repayment is tied to income, because only people who make income pay the tax (also good); and it is simpler and more easily administrable than plans to make loans easier to pay off (still good).' The main argument for a graduate tax comes from its progressivity. Supporters of a graduate tax point out that most college graduates, particularly those from elite universities that use a greater share of resources, are richer than people who have not graduated from college. The state of Oregon made headlines last year for an innovative proposal called 'Pay It Forward' to fund higher education without having students take on any debt. Pay It Forward amounts to a graduate tax: All of the graduates of public colleges in Oregon would pay nothing up front in tuition but would pay back a percentage of their income for a set number of years. These payments would build a fund that would cover the cost for future students to receive the same opportunity to attend college with no upfront costs. 'As pressure mounts for more students from all backgrounds to attend college, it will become increasingly difficult to try to stem the rapid tuition inflation under a loan system,' concludes Freedman. 'Our current student loan system has made college more expensive, turned higher education into an individual, rather than a communal, good, and generated serious negative economic and social risks.'"
zacharye writes "Last year ahead of Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c launch, lines began forming outside Apple stores weeks in advance. At the time, we thought it was pretty crazy that anyone would line up that far in advance to buy a cell phone — but now we know what crazy really looks like. A Japanese man named 'Yoppy' says he has already lined up to buy Apple's unannounced iPhone 6, which isn't expected to launch for another seven months."
Lasrick writes "Coral Davenport at the NY Times reports on a study to be published on Friday: '...a surprising new report...concludes that switching buses and trucks from traditional diesel fuel to natural gas could actually harm the planet's climate.' The report apparently documents that the leaks of methane that occur when drilling for natural gas more than make up for the climate change benefits of using natural gas as a transportation fuel. The report will be published Friday in the journal Science."
wiredmikey writes "Security researchers from FireEye have discovered a new IE 10 Zero-Day exploit (CVE-2014-0322) being used in a watering hole attack on the US Veterans of Foreign Wars' website. According to FireEye, attackers compromised the VFW website and added an iframe to the site's HTML code that loads the attacker's page in the background. When the malicious code is loaded in the browser, it runs a Flash object that orchestrates the remainder of the exploit. Dubbed 'Operation SnowMan' by FireEye, the attack targets IE 10 with Adobe Flash. According to a recently-released report from CrowdStrike Strategic Web Compromises (SWC), where attackers infect strategic Websites as part of a watering hole attack to target a specific group of users, were a favorite attack method for groups operating out of Russia and China. FireEye believes the attackers behind the campaign, thought to be operating out of China, are associated with two previously identified campaigns: Operation DeputyDog and Operation Ephemeral Hydra. 'A possible objective in the SnowMan attack is targeting military service members to steal military intelligence,' FireEye said."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Inside the memory card in the cat's collar, authorities found a resentful message criticizing the police along with versions of the virus (iesys.exe) used to carry out the threat messages, which were made remotely, through other people's computers. If you hadn't heard about the story in the news, you'd be forgiven for confusing it with the plot of a Haruki Murakami novel. In Tokyo District Court Wednesday, the former employee of a Japanese IT company wore a black suit, a wide smile, and pleaded not guilty to 10 charges brought against him. The Japan Times explained the string of threats were directed at 'schools and kindergartens attended by the Emperor Akihito's grandchildren,' as well as a Japan Airlines jet headed for New York. The plane had to stop mid-flight, costing the airline ¥9.75 million (about $93,000)."