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Submission + - 18th Century Law dredged up to force decryption of devices ( 1

Cognitive Dissident writes: The Register has a story about federal prosecutors using a law signed by George Washington to force manufacturers to help law enforcement access encrypted data on devices they manufacture. The All Writs Act is a broad statute simply authorizing courts to issue any order necessary to obtain information within their jurisdiction.

Quoting the Register Article:
Last month, New York prosecutors successfully persuaded a judge that the ancient law could be used to force an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to help unlock a phone allegedly used in a credit card fraud case. The judge ordered the manufacturer to offer "reasonable technical assistance" to make the phone's contents available.

End quote. What will happen when this collides with Apple and Google deliberately creating encryption that they themselves cannot break?

Submission + - New analysis shows dinosaurs not as heavy as previously believed. (

Cognitive Dissident writes: has an article on a new study using computer modeling to estimate the actual amount of flesh needed to cover the skeletons of dinosaurs. Based on a comparison with modern animals, it indicates that these animals could have weighed dramatically less than has been previously estimated. "A huge Brachiosaur, once thought to weigh 176,370 pounds, is now believed to have weighed 50,706 pounds." That's only about two-and-a-half times the weight of a modern African elephant. If other evidence can be reconciled with this, many estimates of the ecosystems dinosaurs lived in will also have to be revised.

Comment Urban Legend becomes reality (Score 5, Interesting) 141

Steven Spielberg claimed to have done something similar. He claimed to have occupied an unused office on the Universal Studios lot by simply dressing in a suit, carrying a brief case, and bluffing his way past the security guards. But his story kept growing and growing. A clear sign of fabrication. So it was finally debunked by snopes. But even his tallest tale didn't claim to have lived on the lot full time. And now this kid has gone one better than the tall tale, actually living inside the corporate complex of a major tech company.


Submission + - The SpaceX blast into history (

coondoggie writes: "Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX has sent its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space capsule into low earth orbit on the first public resupply mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon will stay about 18 days and deliver a little over 1,000 pounds of cargo. A successful mission will go a long way toward bolstering the idea of non-NASA spacecraft ferry equipment and ultimately astronauts to the space lab. It won’t be an easy task by any means. “This is a really tough flight. What we’re asking them to do is amazing,” NASA’s William Gerstenmaier said. Here we take a look at the components of this historic event."

Submission + - WHMCS data compromised by good old social engineering (

howhardcanitbetocrea writes: WHMCS has had 500k records leaked, credit cards included, by hackers calling themselves ugnazis. Apparently ugnazis succeeded in obtaining login details from the billing software's host by using social engineering Ugnazis accuse WHMCS of knowingly offering services to fraudsters.

After almost 24 hours ugnazis still seems to have control of WHMCS twitter account @whmcs and is regularly updating their exploits. These tweets are also feeding into WHMCS software.

Comment Re:"We own it" (Score 1) 566

Gates also admitted he himself was in the habit of "gaining the benefits of software authors' time, effort, and capital without paying them"...

    Bricklin sent waves of laughter through the auditorium by reading a passage from Lammers' interview with Bill Gates in which the young Microsoft founder explained that his work on different versions of Microsoft's BASIC compiler was shaped by looking at how other programmers had gone about the same task. Gates went on to say that young programmers don't need computer science degrees: "The best way to prepare is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems."
    Bricklin finished reading Gates' words and announced, with an impish smile, "This is where Gates and [Richard] Stallman agree!"
        Source: Programmers at Work by Susan Lammers (1986), ISBN 0914845713

          "...the best way to prepare [to be a programmer] is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and fished out listings of their operating system."
-- Bill Gates.

Submission + - Vanity Fair profiles Sarah Palin

Cognitive Dissident writes: The October issue of Vanity Fair contains a profile of Sarah Palin by Michael Joseph Gross. Definitely not a puff piece, it has already stirred a storm among pro-Palin bloggers, who are calling it a hatchet job. The Huffington Post reports about his appearance on the MSNBC show "Morning Joe" where he said "The worst stuff isn't even in there," And then he goes on to explain how he didn't intend it to be negative but was forced to report the facts, and the facts are very negative (even the ones he didn't withhold). As the Huffington Post articles put it:

In the profile, Gross paints Palin as an abusive, retaliatory figure with an extreme ability to lie.
"This is a person for whom there is no topic too small to lie about," he said. "She lies about everything."

The MSNBC appearance can be watched from the Huffington Post article.

Submission + - New Solar Energy Breakthrough

Cognitive Dissident writes: "According to green blogging site Celsias, a company called Nanosolar has developed a new method for producing solar cells more cheaply and quickly then ever before. "Their PowerSheet cells contrast the current solar technology systems by reducing the cost of production from $3 a watt to a mere 30 cents per watt. This makes, for the first time in history, solar power cheaper than burning coal." Videos of their manufacturing process in action are available on their main page. Their full-scale manufacturing plant goes online next year. Is this the beginning of the solar power revolution?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day (

Cognitive Dissident writes: "The author of the postmodern web-comic Dresden Codak has called for world-wide event/practical joke which he is calling Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day. As the title and initial post makes clear, he wants people to go out in public on the specified day (December 8th) and act convincingly like time travelers trying not to be noticed. The ensuing discussion is great fun to read even if you don't plan to join in. As an additional bonus, the now month-long discussion of the fine balancing act of anticipating popular expectations of a 'time traveler' and getting noticed while preserving verisimilitude provides some interesting thoughts about framing and meta-knowledge that many Slashdotters will appreciate."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Bizarre Fixes for Bizzare Problems

tezbobobo writes: I recently have been trying to access a damaged 2.5" harddrive when I came across a suggestion to freeze it and use a cavity. It worked like a charm. More bizarrely I came across this fix for a broken ibook recently and was wondering what else is out there. You know, strange solutions to strange problems.

Submission + - Libraries Opening Up with Open Source

Dolores Parker writes: "The open source movement and libraries have a lot in common, not the least of which is the belief in free and open access to ideas and information. Yet, until recently, libraries have been slow to switch to open source software.

Today several companies worldwide have committed to supporting and developing open source software for libraries. They offer everything from hosting and installation to support and development services. With these new options, libraries don't need an IT staff to deploy software or steer development of new features. Here's an inside look at three libraries that are moving to open systems. Read more at"

Submission + - Google lost german toplevel domain

Korkman writes: It seems Google has just lost one of it's major toplevel domains,, to some german webhoster which was obviously well prepared for the traffic hit. See "", and, if already recovered, "" for the webhoster. stopped immediately redirecting german visitors to Anyone here to guess how much economic damage this will deal?

Submission + - Defense Witness in "Spyware in school" cas writes: "Network Performance Daily offered Mr. Herb Horner, the defense expert witness in the case of Julie Amero, the Connecticut substitute teacher convicted and awaiting sentence for what defense argues was a spyware infection, a chance to speak out on the case. (Tomorrow NPD hopes to have commentary from Detective Mark Lounsbury, who testified for the prosecution at Ms. Amero's trial.)
From the article: 'We asked the prosecution to arrange for the defense to have unfettered access to the internet so that we could reenact the events of October 19, 2004. It was not granted. I went to court with two laptops and a box full of reference material prepared to very clearly illustrate what happened to Julie Amero. But, the prosecution objected because they were not given "full disclosure" of my examination. I was allowed to illustrate two screens, that of the [do not click], and [do not click] sites. This was one of the most frustrating experiences of my career, knowing full well that the person is innocent and not being allowed to provide logical proof.'"

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