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Spam

+ - 190 Russia's KGB invests in political propaganda spambots 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The newspaper Kommersant [Google translation] reports that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (formerly part of the KGB) has invested 30 million roubles (USD $940,000) on "blog and social network intelligence" programs. A small part of that money is used for surveillance and analytics, but 22 million roubles (USD $690,000) is invested in "mass distribution of messages in social networks with a view to the formation of public opinion". Which presumably can be rephrased as "launching massive pro-Kremlin astroturfing propaganda spambots in order to stifle and undermine political dissent". The brazen Russian government acknowledgement of this investment indicates that the Kremlin does not think of such activities to be in any way illegal or unethical. No words whether these spambots would respect any anti-spam laws or the Terms and Conditions of victim websites. But hey, now you can accuse anyone you disagree with online of being a "KGB bot"!"

+ - 138 Photographer Offers New Perspective on Underground Infrastructure->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Civil Engineering (http://www.asce.org/Content.aspx?id=15187), the magazine of the American Society of Civil Engineers (http://www.asce.org/), has posted a gallery of photographs by (http://www.asce.org/CEMagazine/Articlens.aspx?id=25769810840) photographer Steve Duncan.
Duncan's photographs shed new light on the often forgotten infrastructure that keeps cities running."

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Piracy

+ - 193 From the Mixed-Up Files of Judge Rya W. Zobel

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "While U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel found music-sharer Joel Tenenbaum's 'blatant contempt of warnings and apparent disregard for the consequences of his actions' warranted the $675,000 penalty he received for downloading and distributing 31 songs, Zobel has in the past shown she'll to go to bat for a bad boy who she feels has received excessive punishment. Back in 2005, for instance, Zobel issued a favorable ruling for imprisoned child rapist Joseph Schmitt, allowing him to sue his jailers after he lost his TV privileges for ten weeks for mailing out pornographic stories about children. Zobel argued that prison rules only prohibited inmates from sharing 'pictorial' pornography, not Schmitt's literary efforts (full decision, PDF). Zobel, by the way, was a one-time contender for U.S. Attorney General and is the ex-wife of Judge "Hiller the Killer" Zobel, who pioneered sharing Court files on the Internet."
The Internet

+ - 147 The Ant-ernet: How the Insects 1s and 0s add up to complex social behavior->

Submitted by
retroworks
retroworks writes "The Atlantic reviews Edward O. Wilson's book, The Social Conquest of Earth which makes the case that biological social altruism is the cutting edge of evolution, and that humans are behaving much like other organized insects in the colonization of the planet. The case is strong, according to The Atlantic, because of the complexity of ant behavior. As revealed by Wilson, ants get things accomplished which really rival humans in both intent and sophistication, and that the relationships between individual ants resembles, as much as anything, an internet or computer calculation."
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IT

+ - 184 Ask Slashdot: How did you become a Linux professional?

Submitted by
ternarybit
ternarybit writes "By 'Linux professional,' I mean anyone in a paid IT position who uses or administers Linux systems on a daily basis.

Over the past five years, I've developed an affection for Linux, and use it every day as a freelance IT consultant. I've built a breadth of somewhat intermediate skills, using several distros for everything from everyday desktop use, to building servers from scratch, to performing data recovery. I'm interested in taking my skills to the next level—and making a career out of it—but I'm not sure how best to appeal to prospective employers, or even what to specialize in (I refuse to believe the only option is "sysadmin," though I'm certainly not opposed to that).

Most specifically, I'm interested in what practical steps I can take to build meaningful skills that an employer can verify, and will find valuable. So, what do you do, and how did you get there? How did you conquer the catch-22 of needing experience to get the position that gives you the experience to get the position? Did you get certified, devour books and manpages, apprentice under an expert, some combination of the above, or something else entirely?"
Science

+ - 222 The Sweet Mystery of Science

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Biologist David P. Barash writes in the LA Times that as a scientist he has been participating in a deception for more than four decades — a benevolent and well intentioned deception — but a deception nonetheless. "When scientists speak to the public or to students, we talk about what we know, what science has discovered," writes Barash. "After all, we work hard deciphering nature's secrets and we're proud whenever we succeed. But it gives the false impression that we know pretty much everything, whereas the reality is that there's a whole lot more that we don't know." Teaching and writing only about what is known risks turning science into a mere catalog of established facts, suggesting that "knowing" science is a matter of memorizing says Barash. "It is time, therefore, to start teaching courses, giving lectures and writing books about what we don't know about biology, chemistry, geology, physics, mathematics." Barash isn't talking about the obvious unknowns, such as "Is there life on other planets?" Looking just at his field, evolutionary biology, the unknowns are immense: How widespread are nonadaptive traits? To what extent does evolution proceed by very small, gradual steps versus larger, quantum jumps? What is the purpose of all that "junk DNA"? Did human beings evolve from a single lineage, or many times, independently? Why does homosexuality persist? According to Barash scientists need to keep celebrating and transmitting what they know but also need to keep their eyes on what science doesn't know if the scientific enterprise is to continue attracting new adherents who will keep pushing the envelope of our knowledge rather than resting satisfied within its cozy boundaries. As Richard Dawkins writes: "Mystics exult in mystery and want it to stay mysterious. Scientists exult in mystery for a different reason: It gives them something to do.""
NASA

+ - 198 Dinosaurs and NASA->

Submitted by
DevotedSkeptic
DevotedSkeptic writes "NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD and a Nodosaur called the same place home.

A 12" wide track from a Nodosaur roamed the area of the Goddard Space Flight Center and left behind its prints the be found by Ray Stanford earlier this summer.

Nodosaurs could reach sizes comparable to smaller modern day elephants and lived during the Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous Periods or between 160 and 66 Million years ago. Material extracted from the same Cretaceous-period rock near the imprints has been tested with help from the USGS and revealed to be between 110 to 112 million years old.

Interestingly enough there is a second print within the larger print that appears to be that of a younger nodosaru following behind its mother.

The footprint resides on federal land so it must be removed for preservation in accordance with several federal statutes.

Space Scientists and a behemoth from the past, brought together."

Link to Original Source

+ - 195 Flat lens focuses without distortion->

Submitted by yahyamf
yahyamf (751776) writes "Applied physicists at the Harvard have created an ultrathin, flat lens that focuses light without the distortions of conventional lenses.

“Our flat lens opens up a new type of technology,” says principal investigator Federico Capasso. “We’re presenting a new way of making lenses. Instead of creating phase delays as light propagates through the thickness of the material, you can create an instantaneous phase shift right at the surface of the lens. It’s extremely exciting.”"

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Your Rights Online

+ - 253 The Best Book Reviews That Money Can Buy

Submitted by Rick Zeman
Rick Zeman (15628) writes "Consumer reviews are powerful because, unlike old-style advertising and marketing, they offer the illusion of truth. They purport to be testimonials of real people, even though some are bought and sold just like everything else on the commercial Internet. Yet it is all but impossible to tell when reviews were written by the marketers or retailers (or by the authors themselves under pseudonyms), by customers (who might get a deal from a merchant for giving a good score) or by a hired third-party service. The New York Times tells of the rise and fall of one such hired third party service who had has been so successful planting paid fake reviews that he no longer trusts any online review. He should know. Because of him and his kind, it's estimated that one third of online reviews are fake."
Hardware

+ - 241 Solid State Quantum Computer Finds 15=3x5 48% Of The Time->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes ""The Shor quantum factoring algorithm has been run for the first time on a solid state device and it successfully factored a composite number. A team from UCSB has managed to build and operate a quantum circuit composed of four superconducting phase qubits. The design creates entangled bits faster than before and the team verified that entanglement was happening using quantum tomography. The final part of the experiment implemented the Shor factoring algorithm using 15 as the value to be factored. In 150,000 runs of the calculation, the chip gave the correct result 48% of the time. As Shor's algorithm is only supposed to give the correct answer 50% of the time, this is a good result but not of practical use. However they claim that their chip can be scaled to larger numbers of bits. Is this the start of the quantum computing revolution?""
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Patents

+ - 195 Apple v Samsung Jurors Speak, Skipped Prior Art for "Bogging Us Down"->

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn (898314) writes "PJ over at Groklaw has consolidated some of the more interesting juror comments made following the landmark $1 billion settlement. Apparently the foreman (a patent holder himself) took the jury through the process of how patents work and thus allowed them to return so quickly with a verdict without need of any instructions on how to work through all the material. Most sources are incredulous that all of the information was considered in the process. CNET quote a juror as saying 'After we debated that first patent — what was prior art — because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art, that there wasn't something out there before Apple. In fact we skipped that one so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down.' While the fact that they they voted one way on infringement and another way on invalidity shows they were at least consistent, Groklaw is reporting on some odd inconsistencies in the aftermath of accounts from jurors. The appeal for something this huge goes without question but the accounts collected at Groklaw make this verdict and verdict process sound hasty, ambiguous and probably the result of one man's (the foreman's) personal opinion of patents."
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Google

+ - 352 Microsoft Sends DMCA Notices To Legitimate Websites

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In the past couple of days, a bunch of technology sites received a DMCA takedown notice from Microsoft (through Google). NGOHQ and PowerArchiver for hosting screenshot(s) of Windows 8 RTM while their forum users were criticizing the new Metro UI. BetaNews received a notice for posting a link to the Windows 8 Developer Preview."
Security

+ - 294 Hackers Dump Millions of Records of CIA, Banks, Politicians->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "TeamGhostShell, a team linked with the infamous group Anonymous, is claiming that they have hacked some major US institutions including the likes of CIA, major banking institutions, accounts of politicians and has posted those details online. The dumps comprising of millions of accounts has been let loose on the web by the hacking collective. The motivation behind the hack, the group claims, is to protest against banks, politicians and the hackers who have been captured by law enforcement agencies."
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