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Submission + - UK's "Year of Code" Director Doesn't Know How to Code 1

theodp writes: Slate's Lily Hay Newman reports that UK education officials last week launched a Year of Code initiative to promote interest in programming and to train teachers, with a director who freely admits that she doesn’t know how to code. "I'm going to put my cards on the table," Lottie Dexter told Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman on national TV. "I can't code. I've committed this year to learning to code ... so over this year I'm going to see exactly what I can achieve." The curmudgeonly skeptical Paxman was also unimpressed by Dexter's argument that the national initiative could teach people to make virtual birthday cards, a la Mark Zuckerberg's examples for Dexter might want to study the game film (YouTube) of how Google exec Susan Wojcicki — a poster child for the U.S. Hour of Code that's coming soon to the UK — handled a potentially awkward question posed by a little girl ("What is one way you apply Computer Science to your job at Google?"). In the U.S., efforts by companies and tech leaders to make CS education "an issue like climate change" have been hugely successful and even credited as the inspiration behind new legislation to allow computer programming to count as HS foreign language credit, a movement that finds alarming.

Submission + - Want to remotely control a car? $20 in parts. (

mspohr writes: From the The Register:
"Spanish hackers have been showing off their latest car-hacking creation; a circuit board using untraceable, off-the-shelf parts worth $20 that can give wireless access to the car's controls while it's on the road.
The device, which will be shown off at next month's Black Hat Asia hacking conference, uses the Controller Area Network (CAN) ports car manufacturers build into their engines for computer-system checks. Once assembled, the smartphone-sized device can be plugged in under some vehicles, or inside the bonnet of other models, and give the hackers remote access to control systems.
"A car is a mini network," security researcher Alberto Garcia Illera told Forbes. "And right now there's no security implemented."

Submission + - Rate-Limiting State (

CowboyRobot writes: Writing for ACM's Queue magazine, Paul Vixie argues, "The edge of the Internet is an unruly place." By design, the Internet core is stupid, and the edge is smart. This design decision has enabled the Internet's wildcat growth, since without complexity the core can grow at the speed of demand. On the downside, the decision to put all smartness at the edge means we're at the mercy of scale when it comes to the quality of the Internet's aggregate traffic load. Not all device and software builders have the skills and budgets that something the size of the Internet deserves. Furthermore, the resiliency of the Internet means that a device or program that gets something importantly wrong about Internet communication stands a pretty good chance of working "well enough" in spite of this. Witness the endless stream of patches and vulnerability announcements from the vendors of literally every smartphone, laptop, or desktop operating system and application. Bad guys have the time, skills, and motivation to study edge devices for weaknesses, and they are finding as many weaknesses as they need to inject malicious code into our precious devices where they can then copy our data, modify our installed software, spy on us, and steal our identities.

Submission + - GCHQ Has Entire Program For 'Dirty Tricks' (

An anonymous reader writes: Remember the story from last year about the NSA using dirty tricks, like spying on the porn habits of non-terrorists and then trying to leak them to discredit those (again, non-terrorist) individuals? Apparently, the UK's version of the NSA is way ahead of the NSA on that.

A new report by Glenn Greenwald and others at NBC, based on Snowden documents, shows that the GCHQ has an entire program dedicated to these kinds of attacks. Now, there is some reasonable argument to be made that this is part of basic espionage protocol, but generally speaking that's supposed to be the mandate of the actual spy agencies (in the US, that would be the CIA, in the UK MI5 or MI6). When it moves over into organizations like the NSA and GCHQ, which are supposed to be more about merely collecting and analyzing "signals intelligence" rather than "offensive" attacks, it becomes increasingly questionable. And yet, the GCHQ seems positively giddy about its ability to go online and mess with people and companies.

For example, a presentation shows that they will mess with people's social networking accounts, and leak info to friends, colleagues and neighbors,

Submission + - 25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul to the Walmart Store

theodp writes: Among the billionaires who helped Bill Gates pave the way for charter schools in WA was Walmart heiress Alice Walton. The Walton Family Foundation spent a whopping $158+ million in 2012 on what it calls "systemic K-12 education reform," which included $60,920,186 to "shape public policy" and $652,209 on "research and evaluation." Confirming the LA Times' speculation about its influence, the Walton Foundation issued a press release Wednesday boasting it's the largest private funder of charter school "startups", adding that it has supported the opening of 1 in 4 charter schools in the U.S. since 1997 through its 1,500 "investments." But as some charter school kids have learned the hard way, what the rich man giveth, he can also taketh away. For the time being, though, it looks like America's going to continue to depend on the tax-free kindness of wealthy strangers to educate its kids. For example, while it was nice to see the value of Shop Class recognized, the White House on Monday called on businesses, foundations and philanthropists to fund proposed "Maker Spaces" in schools and libraries. Hey, when the U.S. Secretary of Education turns to corporate sponsors and auctions to fund his Mother's afterschool program for kids of low-income families in the President's hometown, don't look for things to change anytime soon.

Submission + - 50 Light Years of The British Invasion (

benonemusic writes: On February 9, 1964, The Beatles made their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show," as they played "All My Loving" to an estimated audience of 73 million viewers. But the broadcast didn't stop there. Like all electromagnetic waves, it continued into space. This infographic shows a number of the stars and constellations that the waves have passed in the past 50 years.

Submission + - National Police Board of Finland goes after Wikimedia

An anonymous reader writes: In Finland, the promised land of taxes and red tape, you can not ask for financial help without having a permit from the government to do so. And now, Wikimedia is feeling the pain as National Police Board of Finland has submitted a request for a statement regarding Wikipedia fundraiser. Basically, the NPB is making it's case by saying that Wikipedia asking for donations constitutes a campaign which, under the Finnish legislation, would require a permit. As a Finn I hope that Wikipedia will just drop traffic to .fi for a couple of weeks, this insanity needs to end.

Submission + - Is NASA a Hammer Looking for a Nail? (

jasnw writes: Slate has an article, or hit-piece if you're a NASA fanboy, about whether NASA has any further purpose in life . My own personal feeling as a researcher in the space sciences that NASA became a jobs program, often called welfare-for-whitecoats, quite a few years ago. The space fanboy blogosphere is full of loud screeching and ritual rending of garments over this piece — what do slashdotters (classic or beta) think of this?

Submission + - Is Whitelisting The Answer To The Rise In Data Breaches? (

MojoKid writes: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that cyber criminals are quickly getting more sophisticated than current security, intrusion detection and prevention technology can defend against. And you have to wonder if the computer security industry as a whole is willing to take the disruptive measures required to address the issue head-on. One way to tackle the surging data breach epidemic is with a technology called “whitelisting.” It’s not going to sound too sexy to the average end user and frankly, even CIOs may find it unfashionable but in short, whitelisting is a method of locking-down a machine such that only trusted executables, DLLs and other necessary system and application components are allowed to run – everything else is denied. A few start-up security companies are beginning to appear in this space. The idea is to start with a known, clean system installation and then lock it down in that state so absolutely nothing can be changed. If you follow system security, regardless of your opinion on the concept of whitelisting, it’s pretty clear the traditional conventions of AV, anti-malware, intrusion detection and prevention are no longer working.

Submission + - German Domain Registrar Liable For Copyright Infringment (

jfruh writes: When the German domain registrar Key-Systems registered and maintained the domain, should it have been obvious that their customer would use the site for unauthorized distribution of Robin Thicke albums? A regional German court says that they should've known, and once they had been notified they should have taken steps to prevent it from happening. Obviously domain registrars are worried that this will upend their entire business model.

Submission + - A Modest Proposal, re: Beta vs. Classic 19

unitron writes: Dice wants to make money off of what they paid for--the Slashdot name--, or rather they want to make more money off of it than they are making now, and they think the best way to do that is to turn it into SlashingtonPost.

They should take this site and give it a new name. Or get Malda to let them use "Chips & Dips".

Leave everything else intact, archives, user ID database, everything except the name.

Then use the Beta code and start a new site and give it the name, and they can have what they want without the embarrassment of having the current userbase escape from the basement or the attic and offend the sensibilities of the yuppies or hipsters or metrosexuals or whoever it is that they really want for an "audience".

Submission + - /. Beta comments don't work, users upset. ( 4

magic maverick writes: Since the new /. Beta came to light, many /. users and commentators have tried it out. However, they are almost universally condemning the new commenting system. It simply isn't as good as the so called Classic system. Some users, however, haven't a bad thing to say. Mainly because they haven't had a chance to even use the new system. It simply doesn't load. One user, Magic Maverick , who lives in a third-world country with crappy Internet, had this to say:

I come to /. for the comments, but with the new Beta, I can't even see anything! It just says:

''Shazbot! We ran into some trouble getting the comments. Try again... na-nu, na-nu!

It seems like the "developers" need to take some advice from people who actually know what they are doing. I'm happy to help explain what graceful degradation means if they like...

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux