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Submission + - State Of Georgia Sues for Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State's Laws-> 1 1

schwit1 writes: The state of Georgia has sued sued Carl Malamud and his site Public.Resource.org. It is about as ridiculous as you would expect focusing on the highly questionable claim that the Official Code of Georgia Annotated is covered by federal copyright law — and that not only was Malamud (*gasp*) distributing it, but also... creating derivative works! Oh no! And, he's such an evil person that he was encouraging others to do so as well!
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Eye drops could dissolve cataracts

An anonymous reader writes: As Slashdot readers age, more and more will be facing surgery for cataracts. The lack of cataract surgery in much of the world, is a major cause of blindness. Researchers at University of California San Diego have identified lanosterol as a key molecule in the prevention of cataract formation that points to a novel strategy for cataract prevention and non-surgical treatment.
The abstract is freely available from Nature. If you have cataracts, you might want to purchase a full reprint while you can still read it.

Submission + - US Government detained Laura Poitras every time she flew ..-> 1 1

An anonymous reader writes: Since the 2006 release of “My Country, My Country,” Poitras has left and re-entered the U.S. roughly 40 times. Virtually every time during that six-year-period that she has returned to the U.S., her plane has been met by DHS agents who stand at the airplane door or tarmac and inspect the passports of every de-planing passenger until they find her (on the handful of occasions where they did not meet her at the plane, agents were called when she arrived at immigration).

Each time, they detain her, and then interrogate her at length about where she went and with whom she met or spoke. They have exhibited a particular interest in finding out for whom she works.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Supreme Court justices hold stock in tech vendors, other firms->

xantonin writes: "Chief Justice John Roberts owned up to US $750,000 in shares of Time Warner and its subsidiaries at the time the media giant filed a brief in ABC v. Aereo, which broadcasters won 6-3 last June, with Roberts in the majority. Aereo was a start-up offering TV service to subscribers through specialized antenna farms."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Discoveryd dropped in OSX->

HoodCrowd writes: I have been dealing with my clients Apple Computers for a month, or two, who have had major issues with this process.

"But there's another category of bug—glaring, perplexing bugs that couldn't possibly have escaped the attention of the software engineers in question, let alone the quality assurance department. Such issues exist, and sometimes they go unfixed for months. Or years. Or ever. Hopefully, the set of network issues with OS X 10.10 described below won't fall into this column, but they do raise an obvious question: why?"

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Sourceforge staff takes over a user's account and wraps their software installer-> 11 11

An anonymous reader writes: Sourceforge staff took over the account of the GIMP-for-Windows maintainer claiming it was abandoned and used this opportunity to wrap the installer in crapware. Quoting Ars:

SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.


Link to Original Source

Submission + - SF Says AdWare Bundled with Gimp Is Intentional-> 5 5

tresf writes: In response to a Google+ post from the Gimp project claiming that "[Sourceforge] is now distributing an ads-enabled installer of GIMP", Sourceforge had this response:

In cases where a project is no longer actively being maintained, SourceForge has in some cases established a mirror of releases that are hosted elsewhere. This was done for GIMP-Win.

Editor's note: Gimp is actively being maintained and the definition of "mirror" is quite misleading here as a modified binary is no longer a verbatim copy. Download statistics for Gimp on Windows show SourceForge as offering over 1,000 downloads per day of the Gimp software. In an official response to this incident, the official Gimp project team reminds users to use official download methods. Slashdotters may remember the last time news like this surfaced (2013) when the Gimp team decided to move downloads from SourceForge to their own FTP service.

Therefore, we remind you again that GIMP only provides builds for Windows via its official Downloads page.

Note: SourceForge and Slashdot share a corporate parent.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware? 1 1

An anonymous reader writes: In light of recent revelations from Kaspersky Labs about the Equation Group and persistent hard drive malware, I was curious about how easy it might be to verify my own system's drives to see if they were infected. I have no real reason to think they would be, but I was dismayed by the total lack of tools to independently verify such a thing. For instance, Seagate's firmware download pages provide files with no external hash, something Linux distributions do for all of their packages. Neither do they seem to provide a utility to read off the current firmware from a drive and verify its integrity.

Are there any utilities to do such a thing? Why don't these companies provide such a thing to users? Has anyone compiled and posted a public list of known-good firmware hashes for the major hard drive vendors and models? This seems to be a critical hole in PC security.

I did contact Seagate support asking for hashes of their latest firmware; I got a response stating that '...If you download the firmware directly from our website there is no risk on the file be tampered with." [their phrasing, not mine]. Methinks somebody hasn't been keeping up with world events lately.

Submission + - The Magic of Pallets

HughPickens.com writes: Jacob Hodes writes in Cabinet Magazine that there are approximately two billion wooden shipping pallets in the holds of tractor-trailers in the United States transporting Honey Nut Cheerios and oysters and penicillin and just about any other product you can think of. According to Hodes the magic of pallets is the magic of abstraction. "Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a “unit load”—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency; the gains are so impressive, in fact, that many experts consider the pallet to be the most important materials-handling innovation of the twentieth century." Although the technology was in place by the mid-1920s, pallets didn’t see widespread adoption until World War II, when the challenge of keeping eight million G.I.s supplied—“the most enormous single task of distribution ever accomplished anywhere,” according to one historian—gave new urgency to the science of materials handling. "The pallet really made it possible for us to fight a war on two fronts the way that we did." It would have been impossible to supply military forces in both the European and Pacific theaters if logistics operations had been limited to manual labor and hand-loading cargo.

To get a sense of the productivity gains that were achieved, consider the time it took to unload a boxcar before the advent of pallets. “According to an article in a 1931 railway trade magazine, three days were required to unload a boxcar containing 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods. When the same amount of goods was loaded into the boxcar on pallets or skids, the identical task took only four hours.” Pallets, of course, are merely one cog in the global machine for moving things and while shipping containers have had their due, the humble pallet is arguably "the single most important object in the global economy."

Submission + - Should IT professionals be exempt from overtime?-> 1 1

Paul Fernhout writes: Nick Hanauer's a billionaire who made his fortune as one of the original investors in Amazon. He suggests President Obama should restore US overtime regulations to the 1970s to boost the economy (quoted by PBS NewsHour):
"In 1975, more than 65 percent of salaried American workers earned time-and-a-half pay for every hour worked over 40 hours a week. Not because capitalists back then were more generous, but because it was the law. It still is the law, except that the value of the threshold for overtime pay--the salary level at which employers are required to pay overtime--has been allowed to erode to less than the poverty line for a family of four today. Only workers earning an annual income of under $23,660 qualify for mandatory overtime. You know many people like that? Probably not. By 2013, just 11 percent of salaried workers qualified for overtime pay, according to a report published by the Economic Policy Institute. And so business owners like me have been able to make the other 89 percent of you work unlimited overtime hours for no additional pay at all.
    The Obama administration could, on its own, go even further. Many millions of Americans are currently exempt from the overtime rules--teachers, federal employees, doctors, computer professionals, etc.--and corporate leaders are lobbying hard to expand "computer professional" to mean just about anybody who uses a computer. Which is almost everybody. But were the Labor Department instead to narrow these exemptions, millions more Americans would receive the overtime pay they deserve. Why, you might ask, are so many workers exempted from overtime? That's a fair question. To be truthful, I have no earthly idea why. What I can tell you is that these exemptions work out very well for your employers. ...
    In the information economy of the 21st century, it is not capital accumulation that creates growth and prosperity, but, rather, the virtuous cycle of innovation and demand. The more innovators and entrepreneurs we have converting ideas into products and services, the higher our standard of living, and the more people who can afford to consume these products and services, the greater the incentive to innovate. Thus, the key to growth and prosperity is to fully include as many Americans as possible in our economy, both as innovators and consumers.
    In plain English, the real economy is you: Raise wages, and one increases demand. Increase demand and one increases jobs, wages and innovation. The real economy is simply the interplay between consumers and businesses. On the other hand, as we've learned from the past 40 years of slow growth and record stock buybacks, not even an infinite supply of capital can persuade a CEO to hire more workers absent demand for the products and services they produce.
    The twisted irony is, when you work more hours for less pay, you hurt not only yourself, you hurt the real economy by depressing wages, increasing unemployment and reducing demand and innovation. Ironically, when you earn less, and unemployment is high, it even hurts capitalists like me. ..."

If overtime pay is generally good for the economy, should most IT professionals really be exempt from overtime regulations?

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Groceries Delivered, With a Side of Guilt Over Good Jobs 1 1

curtwoodward writes: Getting your groceries delivered isn't exactly a new idea. But in many large U.S. cities, it's never been easier, with tech companies of all sizes competing for dollars from time-strapped shoppers. After trying out two versions of online delivery services, this reviewer was left feeling they were pretty equivalent — but also had some serious worries about whether the people doing the work had good jobs, or were being exploited in the "independent contractor" economy.

Submission + - Rogers ISP MITM process detailed

knorthern knight writes: Lee Brotherston gives a talk http://blog.squarelemon.com/bl... about how his ISP deliberately MiTM’d his connection. This talk discusses how they did it, how he detected what they did and what this means. This talk covers what he learnt over three months of analysis focusing on the technology involved both on the ISP side and his own. He covers in detail how he went about identifying and mapping the ISPs hidden network components and how they modify IP connections. He briefly covers what this means to customers of their service, and provides technical evidence as well as a walk through how he used open source tools to unmask this Corp In The Middle attack. The slides used for the presentation are available at http://www.slideshare.net/LeeB...

Submission + - Satellites reveal hidden features at the bottom of Earth's seas->

sciencehabit writes: Oceanographers have a saying: Scientists know more about the surface of Mars than they do about the landscape at the bottom of our oceans. But that may soon change. Using data from satellites that measure variations in Earth’s gravitational field, researchers have found a new and more accurate way to map the sea floor. The improved resolution has already allowed them to identify previously hidden features—including thousands of extinct volcanoes more than 1000 meters tall—as well as piece together some lingering uncertainties in Earth’s ancient history.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - California Gov Brown Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants for Drone Surveillance->

schwit1 writes: Brown, a Democrat facing re-election in November, sided with law enforcement and said the legislation simply granted Californians privacy rights that went too far beyond existing guarantees. Sunday's veto comes as the small drones are becoming increasingly popular with business, hobbyists, and law enforcement.

"This bill prohibits law enforcement from using a drone without obtaining a search warrant, except in limited circumstances," the governor said in his veto message(PDF). "There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill's exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the 4th Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution."

At least 10 other states require the police to get a court warrant to surveil with a drone. Those states include Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

California's drone bill is not draconian. It includes exceptions for emergency situations, search-and-rescue efforts, traffic first responders, and inspection of wildfires. It allows other public agencies to use drones for other purposes—just not law enforcement.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Fired NY Fed Regulator's Secret Audio Recordings Inside Goldman Sachs 2 2

maynard writes: Carmen Segarra used to work as a regulator for the New York Federal Reserve Bank, one of twelve regional banks that make up the US central banking system. In her capacity as regulator, Ms. Segarra was assigned to a team overseeing investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. There, while investigating a case of Goldman having advisied a client about a buyout offer by another company in which the firm held significant investment holdings, she determined that Goldman didn't even have a conflict of interest policy. Her supervisor initially backed the investigation, until it became clear she meant to file a written report detailing her findings of fact. Then they abruptly fired her.

And all this would have been another unfortunate case of 'she-said / institution-said' ineffective whistleblowing were it not for the fact that Ms. Segarra saw what was coming and had bought a keychain audio recorder. With it, she collected 46 hours of internal discussion and meetings, including statements by Goldman Sachs principles admitting the firm didn't have a conflict of interest policy and that the deal under investigation had been "shady." Additionally, she collected reams of documents and testimony. She thought her case iron clad.

However, when it came time to reveal her findings in full to superiors, though initially supportive of the investigation, her boss quickly shifted gears and worked to squelch the report. This culminated in a recorded meeting where her boss made clear his supervisors at the Fed insisted she downplay those findings. Then, a week later, before she could formally file the report, they fired her.

While bits of the story have been out in print for about a year, the radio show This American Life just published actual excerpts from those audio recordings. They make for harrowing listening. As the producer says in the introduction, her recordings show: "Repeated examples of pervasive regulatory capture by the industry regulators are meant to oversee."

In other words, whereas before we could all surmise just how bad banking regulation must be, what with the Financial Crisis having nearly tanked the world economy and all, with this audio we can hear first hand and in minute detail what it's like for an honest regulator to try to do the job properly: You get fired. Quickly. Then your embarrassing work is buried and reputation smeared. And if she'd just kept her mouth shut, she coulda gotten rich! This, at the very heart of the global financial system.

Is it any wonder why the public has lost faith in our political and economic institutions?

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