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+ - Physicist Unveils A 'Turing Test' For Free Will ->

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The problem of free will is one of the great unsolved puzzles in science, not to mention philosophy, theology, jurisprudence and so on. The basic question is whether we are able to make decisions for ourselves or whether the outcomes are predetermined and the notion of choice is merely an illusion. Now a leading theoretical physicist has outlined a ‘Turing Test’ for free will and says that while simple devices such as thermostats cannot pass, more complex ones like iPhones might. The test is based on an extension of Turing’s halting problem in computer science. This states that there is no general way of knowing how an algorithm will finish, other than to run it. This means that when a human has to make a decision, there is no way of knowing in advance how it will end up. In other words, the familiar feeling of not knowing the final decision until it is thought through is a necessary feature of the decision-making process and why we have the impression of free will. This leads to a simple set of questions that forms a kind of Turing test for free will. These show how simple decision-making devices such as thermostats cannot believe they have free will while humans can. A more interesting question relates to decision-makers of intermediate complexity, such as an iPhone. As the author puts it, this seems to possess all the criteria required for free will, and behaves as if it has it".""
Link to Original Source

+ - NSA is intercepting French telephone calls "on a massive scale"

Submitted by rtoz
rtoz (2530056) writes "The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting French telephone calls “on a massive scale”, according to a report published in Le Monde.

According to Le Monde, the NSA recorded millions of telephone calls placed by French citizens over a 30-day period last year, including some placed by people with no connections to terrorist organizations.

France called in the U.S. ambassador to protest at allegations in Le Monde newspaper about large-scale spying on French citizens by NSA."

+ - Unmasked:Revealing the target of the latest 100Gbps DDoS attack->

Submitted by Igal Zeifman
Igal Zeifman (2844293) writes "The target was BTC China — China's largest Bitcoin exchange, 3rd largest in the world. Bobby Lee, chief exec of BTC China, said it's unlikely that the attack on BTC China was part of a more widespread campaign to attack BitCoin exchanges by hackers hoping to undermine confidence in the currency..."
Link to Original Source

+ - XBMC forked

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "After working almost 10 years on the XBMC project (http://xbmc.org),
I am very sad to announce my fork, named FYMC. While the abbreviation obviously
lends itself to alternative interpretations, the intended meaning is
'Forever yours Media Center'.

Key technical differences compared to the original project:
1) GPL3 licensed.
2) A CMake based build system.
3) An agile approach in mainline.

Project hosting is still being arranged, and as such the only resource available at this point is

http://github.com/cptspiff/fymc

As several backend authors have not responded to request for API keys yet, certain basic features have been disabled for now.

Currently it is only buildable for freebsd and linux, support for building
on other free platforms will follow, with free being interpretable as platforms
where users maintain their freedom to run and modify software after their own
likings. It is still mostly compatible with XBMC add-ons, with
binary (compiled) add-ons being the exception.

While I would like to give my reasons for forking the project in public to reduce the amount of FUD, I do not in honor of requests from the forked project. Though, I want to explicitly mention that this is not a case of an insulted developer, but an action taken out of honest concerns and loyalty to the original vision of the project.

Developers interested in joining the project can join #fymc on irc.freenode.net.
In particular, people skilled in graphics are most needed.

Arne Morten Kvarving"
Earth

EPA Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Bees 410

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-could-that-bee dept.
hether writes "The mystery of the disappearing bees has been baffling scientists for years and now we get another big piece in the puzzle. From Fast Company: 'A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined — electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists.' Now environmentalists and bee keepers are calling for an immediate ban of the pesticide clothianidin, sold by Bayer Crop Science under the brand name Poncho."
Math

Statistical Analysis of Terrorism 265

Posted by Soulskill
from the concept-episode-for-numb3rs dept.
Harperdog sends in a Miller-McCune story about Aaron Clauset, a researcher whose studies on the statistics and patterns that arise from large numbers of terrorist attacks could help governments better prepare for such conflicts and reduce uncertainty about their frequency and magnitude. Quoting: "After mapping tens of thousands of global terrorism incidents, he and his collaborators have discovered that terrorism can be described by what mathematicians call a power law. ... Using this power law relationship — called 'scale invariance' — the risk of a large attack can be estimated by studying the frequency of small attacks. It’s a calculation that turns the usual thinking about terrorism on its head. 'The conventional viewpoint has been there is "little terrorism" and "big terrorism," and little terrorism doesn't tell you anything about big terrorism,' Clauset explains. 'The power law says that's not true.' Massive acts of violence, like 9/11 or the devastating 1995 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, obey the same statistical rules as a small-scale IED attack that kills no one, Clauset's work suggests. 'The power law form gives you a very simple extrapolation rule for statistically connecting the two,' he says."
Announcements

+ - SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years->

Submitted by
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones writes "The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years!
http://sdf.lonestar.org/

It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at
300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public
Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the
"Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest
and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet."

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - SDF Public Access Unix System Turns 20->

Submitted by Eileen
Eileen (798477) writes "Remember those days when you could get a free Unix shell account and learn all about the command line? You still can at the Super Dimension Fortress (SDF). SDF is celebrating its 20th birthday on June 16.

Full press release text:
The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years!
http://sdf.lonestar.org


It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.

Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of "the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and advertising of the DOT COM entities. It is a proponent of SMTP greylisting as opposed to content filtering and offers that as an option to its members.

While access to basic services are free to everyone, lifetime membership can be obtained for a mere onetime donation of $36. And it is the members who decide which programs and features are available. The members communicate via a web free, google inaccessible, text bulletin board ('bboard') as well as an interactive chat ('com') where users battle each other in the integrated netris matches. The interface of these programs harks back to the days when TOPS-20 CMD J-SYS ruled the ARPANET.

SDF has also become home to well known hackers such as Bill Gosper, Tom Ellard (Severed Heads), Geoff Goodfellow, Carolyn Meinel and Ezra Buchla, son of the father of the Synthesizer. From this pool of talent you might expect more than just computing, and you'd be correct. An annual music compilation is published featuring original music ranging from electronic noise to improvised piano sonatinas. Gosper's puzzles which he has cut at his favorite laser shop are frequently given away as membership perks or through fundraising raffles.

There are always classes being taught on SDF as well, where instructors and students enjoy free access to the latest teaching and programming tools. Instructors manage their own classes in such a way as not to be encumbered by their own school's outdated utilities or computer security restrictions, which can hamper the learning process.

And where else would you expect to be able to locally dialup at 1200bps from just about anywhere in the USA and Canada with a Commodore 64 and get a login prompt? SDF! As well as direct login, SDF offers PPP and PPPoE via analogue dialup (1200bps — 56kbps), ISDN and DSL. Members also have access to the SDF VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Dynamic Domain Name Service.

One of the many interesting and esoteric aspects of life on the SDF-1 is GOPHER. All users have access to their own GOPHER space and a number of them continue to find it a useful way to share text and data. And if you don't want to relive that past, SDF's 'motd.org' project offers a collaboration amongst members to share source and security tweaks for the latest wikis, web forums, photo galleries and blogs.

SDF runs NetBSD on a cluster of 12 DEC alphas with 3 BGP'ed T1s linking it to the INTERNET. It is an annual supporter of the NetBSD foundation and the Computer History Museum (CA). One of its original incarnations, an AT&T 3B2/500, is displayed annually at the Vintage Computer Festival."

Link to Original Source
Biotech

+ - Texas Gov. Pressured to Rescind Vaccination Order

Submitted by
rock_climbing_guy
rock_climbing_guy writes "Recently, the state of Texas became the first state to require vaccination against HPV, a set of strains of viruses that cause warts and cancer, for all girls entering the sixth grade, beginning in September 2006. Texas Governor Rick Perry, as reported by Fox News, is being pressured by the state senate to rescind the order. Many critics of the order say that requiring such a vaccination will encourage premarital sex. Under Texas law, some parents may opt-out of the requirement for their children for religious or philosophical reasons.

How do we balance the need to provide citizens with protection against dangerous diseases with individual autonomy and freedom? Do such mandatory vaccinations violate our civil rights?"

Censorship

Scientology Critic Arrested After 6 Years 1046

Posted by Hemos
from the running-to-standstill dept.
destinyland writes "Friday police arrested 64-year-old Keith Henson. In 2000 after picketing a Scientology complex, he was arrested as a threat because of a joke Usenet post about "Tom Cruise Missiles." He fled to Canada after being found guilty of "interfering" with a religion, and spent the next 6 years living as a fugitive. Besides being a digital encryption and free speech advocate, he's one of the original Burr-Brown/Texas Instruments researchers and a co-founder of the Space Colony movement."

Comment: Re:XP v the Engineer (Score 1) 444

by BrentN (#7161613) Attached to: Extreme Programming Refactored
Of course its partially tongue-in-cheek, but there is a kernel of truth there. You see, I -was- an academic - got my Ph.D. and all. And discovered that the useful work was being done in the "real world." You have a skewed view of things. You name a fair number of real contributions from academia, but fail to measure them against the piles and piles of steaming horse dung that is also generated by academia. If you did that, you'd notice that things like Mosaic (or for that matter, Akamai) come very very few, and frighteningly far between.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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