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Australia

NSA Ally Spied on US Law Firm 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-so-privileged-communications dept.
mendax points out a story at the NY Times about evidence that the Australian Signals Directorate notified the NSA in 2013 that it was spying on discussions between Indonesia and an American law firm. The information gathered by the Directorate included material covered by attorney-client privilege. The Times says: "Most attorney-client conversations do not get special protections under American law from N.S.A. eavesdropping. Amid growing concerns about surveillance and hacking, the American Bar Association in 2012 revised its ethics rules to explicitly require lawyers to 'make reasonable efforts' to protect confidential information from unauthorized disclosure to outsiders. ... Several newly disclosed documents provide details of the cooperation between the United States and Australia, which share facilities and highly sensitive intelligence, including efforts to break encryption and collect phone call data in Indonesia. Both nations have trade and security interests in Indonesia, where Islamic terrorist groups that threaten the West have bases."
Ubuntu

Why Do You Need License From Canonical To Create Derivatives? 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-they-said-so dept.
sfcrazy writes "Canonical's requirement of a license for those creating Ubuntu derivatives is back in the news. Yesterday the Community Council published a statement about Canonical's licensing policies, but it's vague and it provides no resolution to the issue. It tells creators of derivative distros to avoid the press and instead talk to the Community Council (when they're not quick about responding). Now Jonathan Riddell of Kubuntu has come forth to say no one needs any license to create any derivative distro. So, the question remains: If Red Hat doesn't force a license on Oracle or CentOS, why does Canonical insist upon one?"
Media

FLOSS Codecs Emerge Victorious In Wikimedia Vote 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the quest-for-internal-consistency dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Maggs from the Wikimedia Foundation's multimedia team has given a final summary of the discussion and vote about whether to support MP4 video or not. Twice as many people voted against adding MP4 to Wikimedia than voted for full support. Now they can get back to their mission of advocating openness. 'Those opposing MP4 adoption believe that in order for what we create to be truly free, the format that it is in also needs to be free, (else everyone viewing it would need to obtain a patent license in some form to be able to view it). ... From that viewpoint, any software infrastructure in Wikimedia projects must adhere to community norms regarding intellectual property, patent status, licensing or encoding methods. Current community requirements are that free/open standards should be used at all times to encode and store video files on the servers that house our data, so that both our content and software can be redistributed without any restrictions. Proprietary video containers or codecs such as MP4 are not allowed on Wikimedia projects because they are patent-encumbered and their software cannot be re-licensed freely (though MP4 content can be freely re-licensed).'"
Communications

Swedish Police Use WhatsApp For Surveillance Ops, Share Intel With Civilians 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-happens-in-CopSpace-stays-in-CopSpace dept.
New submitter TheP4st writes "A group of Swedish police officers thought it would be a good idea to use WhatsApp as a work tool for surveillance operations. The officer that set up their chat group mistyped one of the phone numbers to mistakenly include a civilian IT teacher. Once the teacher informed authorities about the mistake, it took more than 24 hours before he stopped receiving sensitive case information, which included criminal records, passport photos, and communications between surveillance teams tailing suspects. When confronted by Computer Sweden (Google translation of Swedish original), the officer responsible for setting up the group said, 'I know this server is not located in Sweden and that one cannot share every kind of information.' The only mobile chat medium approved for sensitive information is BlackBerry, and this initiative by a small group of officers happened because they do not have access to BlackBerry handsets."
Businesses

Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor 717

Posted by Soulskill
from the unless-you're-part-of-a-really-terrible-branch-of-the-boy-scouts dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We've all had to deal with long, tough work weeks, whether it's coming in on the weekend to meet a project deadline, pulling all-nighters to resolve a crisis, or the steady accretion of overtime in a death march. It's fairly common in the tech sector for employees to hold these tough weeks up as points of pride; something good they achieved or survived. But Jeff Archibald writes that this is the wrong way to think of it. 'If you're working 60 hours a week, something has broken down organizationally. You are doing two people's jobs. You aren't telling your boss you're overworked (or maybe he/she doesn't care). You are probably a pinch point, a bottleneck. You are far less productive. You are frantically swimming against the current, just trying to keep your head above water. ... We need to stop being proud of overworking ourselves.'"
Hardware

RoboBeast: A Toughened 3D Printer 21

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-3d-print-you-a-beard dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Carpenter Richard van As shot to fame a year ago thanks to a 3D-printed prosthetic he developed to help him get back to work after an accident. A year later, RoboHand has helped hundreds of people who can't afford expensive prosthetics, and has been used all over the world. Now van As is back with RoboBeast — the 3D printer built to be extremely durable, designed specifically for taking RoboHand into conflict zones and areas of extreme poverty."
The Internet

Psychologists: Internet Trolls Are Narcissistic, Psychopathic, and Sadistic 293

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-related-news-psychologists-have-had-many-pizzas-sent-to-their-house dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Chris Mooney reports at Slate that research conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba confirmed that people who engage in internet trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others). In the study, trolls were identified in a variety of ways. One was by simply asking survey participants what they 'enjoyed doing most' when on online comment sites, offering five options: 'debating issues that are important to you,' 'chatting with others,' 'making new friends,' 'trolling others,' and 'other.' The study recruited participants from Amazon's Mechanical Turk website and two measures of sadistic personality were administered (PDF): the Short Sadistic Impulse Scale and the Varieties of Sadistic Tendencies Scale. Only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoyed 'trolling.' By contrast, 41.3 percent of Internet users were 'non-commenters,' meaning they didn't like engaging online at all. So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters, and an even smaller minority of overall Internet users. Overall, the authors found that the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest, and that indeed, sadists appear to troll because they find it pleasurable. 'Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun ... and the Internet is their playground!' The study comes as websites are increasingly weighing steps to rein in trollish behavior but the study authors aren't sure that fix is a realistic one. 'Because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will likely have a difficult time curbing trolling with punishments (e.g., banning users),' says Buckels. 'Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner.' Perhaps posting rights should only be unlocked if you pass a test."
NASA

A Year After Chelyabinsk, NASA Readying Asteroid Response Mission 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the efforts-to-not-die dept.
An anonymous reader sends this NASA report: "One year ago, on Feb. 15, 2013, the world was witness to the dangers presented by near-Earth Objects (NEOs) when a relatively small asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere, exploding over Chelyabinsk, Russia, and releasing more energy than a large atomic bomb. ... NASA is now pursuing new partnerships and collaborations in an Asteroid Grand Challenge to accelerate NASA's existing planetary defense work, which will help find all asteroid threats to human population and know what to do about them. In parallel, NASA is developing an Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) — a first-ever mission to identify, capture and redirect an asteroid to a safe orbit of Earth's moon for future exploration by astronauts in the 2020s. ... NASA is assessing two concepts to robotically capture and redirect an asteroid mass into a stable orbit around the moon. In the first proposed concept, NASA would capture and redirect an entire very small asteroid. In the alternative concept, NASA would retrieve a large, boulder-like mass from a larger asteroid and return it to this same lunar orbit. In both cases, astronauts aboard an Orion spacecraft would then study the redirected asteroid mass in the vicinity of the moon and bring back samples."
Networking

200-400 Gbps DDoS Attacks Are Now Normal 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the distributed-denial-of-sherbet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Brian Krebs has a followup to this week's 400 Gbps DDoS attack using NTP amplification. Krebs, as a computer security writer, has often been the target of DDoS attacks. He was also hit by a 200Gbps attack this week (apparently, from a 15-year-old in Illinois). That kind of volume would have been record-breaking only a couple of years ago, but now it's just normal. Arbor Networks says we've entered the 'hockey stick' era of DDoS attacks, as a graph of attack volume spikes sharply over the past year. CloudFlare's CEO wrote, 'Monday's DDoS proved these attacks aren't just theoretical. To generate approximately 400Gbps of traffic, the attacker used 4,529 NTP servers running on 1,298 different networks. On average, each of these servers sent 87Mbps of traffic to the intended victim on CloudFlare's network. Remarkably, it is possible that the attacker used only a single server running on a network that allowed source IP address spoofing to initiate the requests. An attacker with a 1 Gbps connection can theoretically generate more than 200Gbps of DDoS traffic.' In a statement to Krebs, he added, 'We have an attack of over 100 Gbps almost every hour of every day.'"
Android

Google's Definition of 'Open' 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-may-ride-the-bus-but-we-are-driving-the-bus dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of Android's biggest draws is its roots in open source. It enables a broad range of device manufacturers to work from the same code base, and provides app developers with more insight into the platform they're building on. But openness isn't a binary condition — there are many shades of gray. While Android is technically very open, from a practical standpoint it's much more difficult for device makers to distance themselves from Google, if that's their preference. 'Phone manufacturers and carriers that want to use Google's services must conform to Google's device standards, a stricter requirement than what basic AOSP requires. For some, this is a catch. For others, it's merely the cost of doing business. ... [Dianne Hackborn, one of Android's tech leads,] defends Google's right to include proprietary services, and to keep them proprietary, saying that its no different than any other proprietary app on Android. That's not entirely true, since Google does keep some API development to itself, but to its credit the company does open-source most of the new APIs introduced to Android.'"
Medicine

Putting the Next Generation of Brains In Danger 143

Posted by Soulskill
from the won't-somebody-think-of-the-brains dept.
An anonymous reader sends this news from CNN: "The number of chemicals known to be toxic to children's developing brains has doubled over the last seven years, researchers said. Dr. Philip Landrigan at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and Dr. Philippe Grandjean from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, authors of the review published Friday in The Lancet Neurology journal say the news is so troubling they are calling for a worldwide overhaul of the regulatory process in order to protect children's brains. 'We know from clinical information on poisoned adult patients that these chemicals can enter the brain through the blood brain barrier and cause neurological symptoms,' said Grandjean. 'When this happens in children or during pregnancy, those chemicals are extremely toxic, because we now know that the developing brain is a uniquely vulnerable organ. Also, the effects are permanent.'"
Books

Ask Slashdot: E-ink Reader For Academic Papers? 134

Posted by timothy
from the reasonable-request dept.
Albanach writes "Recently, I purchased an e-ink Kindle. I like real paper books, but I'm reading lots of academic papers. The Kindle is a nice way to carry and read them, and I went through several documents, highlighting important passages. Now I learn that there is no supported way to actually get a highlighted personal document back off of the Kindle with the highlights intact. I don't need lectures about DRM, proprietary software or anything else along those lines — there are other things the Kindle can and will be used for. What I would like to know is whether there's another e-ink reader that does let you add your own documents, then highlight them and export the altered document. Or does someone know of a way to achieve this using the Kindle itself?"
Twitter

Venezuelan Regime Censoring Twitter 152

Posted by timothy
from the workers'-paradise dept.
First time accepted submitter Saúl González D. writes "After two days of massive protests, the Venezuelan government has finally taken to censoring Twitter. Users of Venezuela's largest ISP CANTV, which is owned by the government, are reporting that either Twitter-embedded images will not load or that Twitter will fail to load at all. I am a user myself and can confirm that only Twitter is affected and that switching to the Tor browser solves the issue. As news of the protests are not televised, for most Venezuelans Twitter and Facebook are their only means of obtaining real-time information.
Despite a progressive worsening of civil and human rights, governments of the world have shied away from directly labeling Maduro a dictator or demanding the OAS' Democratic Charter be activated. Will open censorship be the tipping point?"
China

S. Korea Diverts Network From Huawei Networks 76

Posted by timothy
from the but-the-marines-are-always-saying-huawei dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from The Verge: "The South Korean government has decided to route sensitive data away from networks operated by Huawei, amid longstanding fears from the U.S. that the Chinese company's infrastructure could be used to spy on communications. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the U.S. had been urging its South Korean allies to route government communications away from Huawei networks, claiming that the infrastructure could be used to spy on communications with American military bases there. As a result, Huawei equipment will not be used at any American military base in South Korea. The Obama administration denies playing a role in the decision, and South Korean officials have not commented. The Journal reports that the White House made a point of keeping the talks private because it didn't want to be seen as meddling in its ally's business affairs."
Mars

NASA Knows How Mars Got a Jelly Doughnut 61

Posted by timothy
from the elvis-is-alive-and-well-and-living-on-mars dept.
The Associated Press reports that the mysterious "jelly doughnut" shaped rock spotted by the Opportunity rover on Mars wasn't put there by aliens or by mysterious forces of Mars weather. Instead, the NASA has a simple explanation: one of the rover's larger wheels "broke it off a larger rock and then kicked it into the field of view." Of course, they would say that just to head off a lawsuit demanding an investigation into the real reasons.