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Comment Re:Nothing new (Score 2) 374

Ditto to what Trepidity and Seumas said. But I have questions. The article has a quote: "If you’re not paying for it, then you’re the product being sold." So: I just installed OpenBSD on some hardware I had lying around. You see where this is going.

I didn't buy the CD set (yet). It's about an 80% chance that I will now, and 99% if I turn the box into a packet filter as planned.

(1) In what way am I the product being sold (by OpenBSD)?
(2) If I'm not "the product", then how can I tell? I'm dissatisfied with any answer that says it's obvious on its face: "I just know in my gut that Google has the capacity for evil, yet OpenBSD is good."
(3) If I am "the product", then by what mechanism am I suddenly relieved of that status when I buy the CD sets?

I'm not trying to argue that OpenBSD is good therefore Google is good, nor that Google is bad therefore OpenBSD is bad. I genuinely can't reconcile my experience with the quote, so I think the quote is an overgeneralization. Both Google and OpenBSD may or may not be selling me as a product, the fact that they're free tells me very little, and I have to research them myself.


Twitter Hit By BZPharma LOL Phishing Attack 81

An anonymous reader writes "Twitter users are being warned not to click on messages saying "'ol, this is funny,' as they can lead to their account details being stolen. A widespread attack has hit Twitter this weekend, tricking users into logging into a fake Twitter page — and thus handing their account details over to hackers. Messages include Lol. this is me?? / lol , this is funny. / ha ha, u look funny on here / Lol. this you?? followed by a link in the form of http://example/ [dot] com/?rid=http://twitter.verify.bzpharma [dot] net/login, where 'example.com' can vary. Clicking on the link redirects users to the second-half of the link, where the fake login page is hosted. In a video and blog entry, computer security firm Sophos is warning users that it is not just Twitter direct messages (DMs) that carry the poisoned links, but they are appearing on public profiles due to services such as GroupTweet which republish direct messages. Sophos also reports that the site being used for the Twitter phishing has also been constructed to steal information from users of the Bebo social network. Affected users are advised to change their passwords immediately."
The Media

NY Times To Data-Mine Its Visitors 98

pilsner.urquell points out a story in the Village Voice from a stockholders' meeting at the New York Times. It seems that the media giant is now eager to data-mine visitors to its Web properties. Of course anybody with a site who profits from advertising is likely to be doing something of the sort. It's just a bit surprising that the Times would use the words "data mining" out loud in public. From the article: "Barely a year after their reporters won a Pulitzer prize for exposing data mining of ordinary citizens by a government spy agency, New York Times officials had some exciting news for stockholders last week: The Times company plans to do its own data mining of ordinary citizens, in the name of online profits... [T]he problem with reading papers electronically is that they can also read you."

Comment Re:Horribly misreported (Score 1) 343

You're right that we would have just one species of bacteria. We ought to convince ourselves that we do have more than one species, though, and the authors of the article are hard to convince. They use the idea that the incredible diversity and rapid evolution that you mention aren't enough. This indeed relates to the term "evolutionary species."

The authors define "evolutionary species" as a population that evolves independently from others, meaning that genotypes can't cross the line between two evolutionary species. In the term "evolutionary species," I'd put the emphasis on the word species. Yes, all species are evolutionary, but not all evolutionary entities are species.

Why would anyone doubt that asexual organisms can split into evolutionary species? The article says that sexually reproducing organisms can diversify but also experience cohesion within groups, and "asexuals might not diversify into distinct species, because there is no interbreeding to maintain cohesive units above the level of the individual." Distinct is the key word in that sentence. Now, if asexuals have no source of cohesion (including homologous recombination), then they don't have a good way to form truly independent subpopulations, and they can diversify to the extreme, but yes, a group of (true) asexuals would remain always just one big evolutionary species. These authors and others point out that bacteria do form distinct populations (across which genotypes presumably can't cross), but those results are less convincing because the bacteria in question can all undergo recombination, if not sex proper, and that could induce cohesion. The problem of "one big species" still exists for totally asexual organisms like the rotifers in this study.

Figure 2 in the article http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0050087 shows all of these ideas about cohesion, species, populations, and so forth relatively elegantly.

In the end, this study shows that the characteristics of some truly asexual critters fit the model of cohesive, independent clusters better than not, and they also fit a model of selection based on more than just geographic isolation, for example. How do they cohere? Probably by ending up in niches, the authors say. It has always made sense that true asexuals could do this, but it sounds like we had little evidence about whether they did in fact, before this paper.

Turning to the Times and Slashdot articles, they are both right to point out that it's interesting that organisms can replicate themselves asexually for so long and still compete with sexual reproducers, but they don't emphasize why that's interesting. The comments are right to point out that both sexual and asexual reproduction can generate diversity, so that's not why asexuals are interesting. They're interesting because they lack the usual source of cohesion and independence. In short, the question was "can organisms diversify and cohere into real species or species-like units without any combining of their genes?" The answer is "it looks like it." As an aside, I have to apply a lot of effort to feel good when all tertiary sources seem to miss subtle points like this all the time.

Submission + - Original DOS Boots in Java Applet

Rhys Newman writes: "Oxford Physics Developers have just released a demo version of JPC; a pure Java applet which boots original DOS and can run a selection of classic DOS games. See the JPC homepage for more information and online demo.

JPC emulates all the hardware of a standard PC sufficient to get DOS booting and running classic (or old) software in original form. As the DOS software is running in a completely emulated environment, the standard JVM security model applies and makes JPC a 100% safe environment to run third party x86 untested/unvetted code.

JPC can run on a mobile phone (or any other device which supports a Java 2 VM), and is also intended to enable secure sharing of CPU resources in a computer grid deployment."

Submission + - Angry faces reward teasing behavior

martyros writes: According to a recent study by a psychology study at the University of Michigan, a fleeting look of anger is actually a reward for people with high testosterone levels. In the study, they first measured testosterone levels of the participants, then had the participants perform a "learning task" in which complex key sequences were followed by either an angry face, a neutral face, or no face at all. Participants with high testosterone levels compared to the group learned the key sequence with the angry face faster than the other sequences, while participants with moderate or lower testosterone did not. The effect emerged even more strongly when the angry faces were presented subliminally (i.e., too fast for conscious identification). According to Michelle Wirth, lead author of the study, "Better learning of a task associated with anger faces indicates that the anger faces were rewarding, as in a rat that learns to press a lever in order to receive a tasty treat. In that sense, anger faces seemed to be rewarding for high-testosterone people, but aversive for low-testosterone people."

Submission + - Google Debuts Javascript Code Prettifier

* * Beatles-Beatles writes: "google-code-prettify
syntax highlighting of code snippets in a web page

http://google-code-prettify.googlecode.com/svn/tru nk/README.html

A Javascript module and CSS file that allows syntax highlighting of source code snippets in an html page.
http://google-code-prettify.googlecode.com/svn/tru nk/tests/prettify_test.html"

Organism Survives 100 Million Years Without Sex 343

zyl0x writes "The Times has an interesting article online on the discovery of a 100-million-year-old micro-organism which has survived its entire lifespan without sex." From the article "A tiny creature that has not had sex for 100 million years has overturned the theory that animals need to mate to create variety. Analysis of the jaw shapes of bdelloid rotifers, combined with genetic data, revealed that the animals have diversified under pressure of natural selection. Researchers say that their study "refutes the idea that sex is necessary for diversification into evolutionary species".

Father of Internet Warns Against Net Neutrality 322

An anonymous reader writes "At a recent talk at the Computer History Museum Robert Kahn, co-inventor of TCP/IP, warned against net neutrality legislation that could hinder experimentation and innovation. Calling 'net neutrality' a slogan, Khan also cautioned against 'dogmatic views of network architecture.' A video of the talk is also available."

Code Execution Bug In Broadcom Wi-Fi Driver 157

2U*U2 writes to mention an EWeek article about an entry in the Month of Kernel Bugs. John Ellch has discovered a critical vulnerability in the Broadcom wireless driver: a driver used in machines from HP, Dell, Gateway, and eMachines. From the article: "[The bug] is a stack-based buffer overflow in the Broadcom BCMWL5.SYS wireless device driver that could be exploited by attackers to take complete control of a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop. The vulnerability is caused by improper handling of 802.11 probe responses containing a long SSID field and can lead to arbitrary kernel-mode code execution. The volunteer ZERT (Zero Day Emergency Response Team) warns that the flaw could be exploited wirelessly if a vulnerable machine is within range of the attacker."

The Ballpark Stadium of the Future 79

thejrwr writes to mention a CNN article about the ballpark stadium of the future. The new Cisco stadium for the Oakland A's will be a paragon of the company's technologies, with cellphones carrying personal data used for advertising and identification purposes. "Cisco, which makes the routers, switches and other devices used to link networks and direct traffic on the Internet, is trying to shed its image as solely a maker of networking infrastructure gear. The company also hopes to capitalize on products and services that utilize the network. One example is TelePresence, a technology similar to video conferencing that Cisco introduced last month that aims to deliver a three-dimensional feeling that the participants are all in the same room."

Software Dev Cycle As Part of CS Curriculum? 431

tcolvinMI wonders: "I graduated from a small private college a few years ago with a degree in Computer Science. The main focus of the program, at this particular college, was to give you the tools necessary to be able to learn any programming language based on conceptual information, while having been introduced to several popular languages such as VB, C, C++, and Java. However, there was no 'final project' course that introduced a student programmer to the process of software development as a whole. Today, I was talking with a professor and pitched the idea of introducing such a course that would allow students to essentially go through the entire process from design to deployment. Is there any need for such a course? If so, what lessons would you place an emphasis on? So far, my idea is to allow a student to design an application that can be completed within the alloted time frame, develop in an approved language (one they've had and one the professor also knows), go through the QA process and then finally deploy the app to be evaluated by the other students in the class, who have not participated in the project." If you went CS, how well did your lessons prepare you for real project work? If you had a chance to prepare other college students for a career in development, what things would you teach them, and why?

New Zealand To Allow 'Text-Speak' On Exams 421

ScentCone writes "New Zealand's Qualification Authority (which sets testing standards for the public schools) is confident that those grading papers will understand the meaning of students' responses, even if they use phone/IM-style text-speak. From the article: 'credit will be given if the answer "clearly shows the required understanding," even if it contains text-speak.' Many teachers are not amused, and critics say that the move will devalue NZ's equivalent of a high school diploma." Not to mention that graders will need to be restrained so they don't gouge their own eyes out. While in the medium of text messages, some shorthand might be in order, but I didn't realize that world paper, pencil, and ink shortages were so severe so that text-speak is necessary everywhere.

Metaverse the Next Big Thing? 288

CrashPanic writes to tell us TCS Daily has an article entitled "The Next Big Thing" which is about Multiverse. It does a good job of making the case for the evolution to a 3D web through the lens of the past history of Netscape. From the article: "Forces are coalescing that will produce a shift comparable at least to the spread of broadband. This change will have enormous financial, cultural and political repercussions, and the most interesting aspect of the coming transformation is that it will not be some new and unexpected thing. Rather, the Web for many will become the cliched 3D virtual reality that has been so overused as a literary and cinematic devise that most of us have forgotten how compelling that vision was when it first appeared."

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison