Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

European Agreement Sets Up Third Greek Bailout 485

An anonymous reader writes: Euro zone leaders have reached a deal that will attempt to resolve Greece's financial crisis. The deal sets up negotiations for the country's third bailout, and will require the Greek government to give up significant autonomy in financial matters. Experts have estimated that Greece could require almost $100 billion to stabilize once again. While this will be a significant cost to taxpayers in other European countries, the economic repercussions of letting Greece default on its debts would be much greater. "The agreement will call for Greece to raise taxes in some cases, parepension benefits and take various other measures meant to reduce what critics see as too much bureaucracy and too many market protections that keep the Greek economy from operating efficiently. ... Despite the agreement, Greek banks are expected to remain closed this week. The banks are acutely short of cash and Greek depositors may soon find it difficult to withdraw even small sums from ATMs."

Stanford Starts the 'Secure Internet of Things Project' 77

An anonymous reader writes: The internet-of-things is here to stay. Lots of people now have smart lights, smart thermostats, smart appliances, smart fire detectors, and other internet-connect gadgets installed in their houses. The security of those devices has been an obvious and predictable problem since day one. Manufacturers can't be bothered to provide updates to $500 smartphones more than a couple years after they're released; how long do you think they'll be worried about security updates for a $50 thermostat? Security researchers have been vocal about this, and they've found lots of vulnerabilities and exploits before hackers have had a chance to. But the manufacturers have responded in the wrong way.

Instead of developing a more robust approach to device security, they've simply thrown encryption at everything. This makes it temporarily harder for malicious hackers to have their way with the devices, but also shuts out consumers and white-hat researchers from knowing what the devices are doing. Stanford, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan have now started the Secure Internet of Things Project, which aims to promote security and transparency for IoT devices. They hope to unite regulators, researchers, and manufacturers to ensure nascent internet-connected tech is developed in a way that respects customer privacy and choice.

Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy 488

HughPickens.com writes Justin Gillis writes in the NYT that Denmark is pursuing the world's most ambitious policy against climate change, aiming to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050 — not just in electricity production, as some other countries hope to do, but in transportation as well. The trouble is that while renewable power sources like wind and solar cost nothing to run, once installed, as more of these types of power sources push their way onto the electric grid, they cause power prices to crash at what used to be the most profitable times of day. Conventional power plants, operating on gas or coal or uranium, are becoming uneconomical to run. Yet those plants are needed to supply backup power for times when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. With their prime assets throwing off less cash, electricity suppliers in Germany and Denmark have applied to shut down a slew of newly unprofitable power plants, but nervous governments are resisting, afraid of being caught short on some cold winter's night with little wind. "We are really worried about this situation," says Anders Stouge, the deputy director general of the Danish Energy Association. "If we don't do something, we will in the future face higher and higher risks of blackouts."

Environmental groups, for their part, have tended to sneer at the problems the utilities are having, contending that it is their own fault for not getting on the renewables bandwagon years ago. But according to Gillis, the political risks of the situation also ought to be obvious to the greens. The minute any European country — or an ambitious American state, like California — has a blackout attributable to the push for renewables, public support for the transition could weaken drastically. Rasmus Helveg Petersen, the Danish climate minister, says he is tempted by a market approach: real-time pricing of electricity for anyone using it — if the wind is blowing vigorously or the sun is shining brightly, prices would fall off a cliff, but in times of shortage they would rise just as sharply.

Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base 313

An anonymous reader writes "Having established its presence in the Crimean Peninsula, Russia is now shooting for a bit loftier goal, a permanent Moon base. 'As reported by the Voice of Russia, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta that establishing a permanent Moon base has become one of the country's top space priorities. "The moon is not an intermediate point in the [space] race, it is a separate, even a self-contained goal," Rogozin reportedly said. "It would hardly be rational to make some ten or twenty flights to the moon, and then wind it all up and fly to the Mars or some asteroids."'"

US, Germany To Enter No-Spying Agreement 209

itwbennett writes "The German Federal Intelligence Service said in a news release that the U.S. has verbally committed to enter into a no-spying agreement with Germany. The no-spying agreement talks were announced as part of a progress report on an eight-point program proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July with measures to better protect the privacy of German citizens. In the progress report, the German government found that U.S. intelligence services comply with German law. Also, the operators of large German Internet exchanges and the federal government did not find any evidence that the U.S. spies on Germans, the government said."
The Courts

Judge Suggests Apple, Motorola Should Play Nice 140

sl4shd0rk writes "Federal Judge Richard Posner seems to be a man who gets the screwed up patent system in the U.S. As Apple pressed for more injunctions against Motorola regarding alleged patent infringement, Judge Posner has stressed the two companies should just 'get along' and pay each other royalties. A jury trial set to start last week was cancelled when Posner ruled that neither side could prove damages, and grilled Apple's legal team saying an injunction against Motorola would be 'contrary to the public interest.' Furthermore, as Apple tried to plead its injunction case concerning four patents, Posner called the U.S. patent system 'chaos' and said an order barring the sale of Motorola phones could have 'catastrophic effects.'"
Open Source

Stuxnet/Flame/Duqu Uses GPL Code 221

David Gerard writes "It seems the authors of Stuxnet/Duqu/Flame used the LZO library, which is straight-up GPL. And so, someone has asked the U.S. government to release the code under the GPL. (Other code uses various permissive licenses. As works of the U.S. federal government, the rest is of course public domain.) Perhaps the author could enlist the SFLC to send a copyright notice to the U.S. government..."

Nvidia Is Trying To Make an x86 Chip 420

Slatterz writes with a story from PC Authority which says that "Word has reached us that Nvidia is definitely working on an x86 chip and the firm is heavily recruiting x86 engineers all over Silicon Valley. The history behind this can be summarised by saying they bought an x86 team, and don't have a licence to make the parts. Given that the firm burned about every bridge imaginable with the two companies who can give them licences, Nvidia has about a zero chance of getting one."

Microsoft Begs Hardware Makers To Take Support Seriously 543

Banana ricotta pancakes writes "Microsoft has confirmed that there will be a widespread public beta of Windows 7 in early 2009, while urging device manufacturers to start immediate testing with its pre-beta release to avoid the widespread hardware compatibility problems that contributed so much to the negative perception of Vista. 'There is not another WinHEC planned before Windows 7 is released,' Microsoft has warned them. Better hope that testing goes well."
United States

Discuss the US Presidential Election & the Economy 2369

A number of folks have been submitting topics that indicate that they want to have a serious discussion on the issues surrounding this election. Since we're under a week now, I've decided to run a series of discussion stories to give you guys a place to discuss the issue. So here's the first one: The Economy. It's the biggest topic these days, eclipsing even war as the most important issue to most Americans. But how will that affect your choice next week? And why?

The Push For Quotas For Women In Science 896

mlimber writes "The NYTimes has a story about how Congress has quietly begun to press for an equal number of women in the hard sciences and engineering under Title IX, which is best known for mandating numerical equality for boys' and girls' sports for institutions that accept federal funding. The problem is, the article says, it is not merely that women face discrimination from male colleagues, though that is often true, or that they are discouraged from pursuing these fields. Rather, women with aptitude in these areas often simply have other interests and so pursue their education and careers in other fields like law, education, or biology. Opponents of this plan, including many women in scientific fields, say implementing sex-based quotas will actually be detrimental because it will communicate that the women can't compete on even terms with men and will be 'devastating' to the quality of science 'if every male-dominated field has to be calibrated to women's level of interest.'"

Spreading "1 in 5" Number Does More Harm Than Good 382

Regular Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton has some opinions on child safety online and the use of fear mongering. Here are his thoughts. "The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been running online ads for several years saying that "Each year 1 in 5 children is sexually solicited online", a statistic that has been endlessly repeated, including by vendors of blocking software and by politicians who often paraphrase it to say that 1 in 5 children "are approached by online predators". While others have quietly documented the problems with this statistic, lawmakers still bring it out every year in a push for more online regulation (preempted this year only by the topic du jour of cyberbullying), so it's time for anti-censorship organizations to start campaigning more aggressively against the misleading "1 in 5" number. That means two things: framing the debate with more accurate numbers, and holding the parties accountable for disseminating the wrong ones -- and that means naming names, including those of organizations like the NCMEC that are normally beyond reproach." Read below for the rest.

Anything cut to length will be too short.