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Android

Droid X Self-Destructs If You Try To Mod 757

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-that's-evil dept.
An anonymous reader writes with some discouraging news for hack-oriented purchasers of the new Droid X phone: "If the eFuse fails to verify [the firmware information (what we call ROMS), the kernel information, and the bootloader version], then the eFuse receives a command to 'blow the fuse' or 'trip the fuse.' This results in the booting process becoming corrupted, followed by a permanent bricking of the phone. This FailSafe is activated anytime the bootloader is tampered with or any of the above three parts of the phone has been tampered with."
Security

22 Million SSL Certificates In Use Are Invalid 269

Posted by kdawson
from the netcraft-confirms-it dept.
darthcamaro writes "While SSL certs are widely used on the Internet today, a new study from Qualys, set to be officially released at Black Hat in July, is going to show some shocking statistics. Among the findings in the study is that only 3% of SSL certs in use were actually properly configured. Quoting: '"So we have about 22 million SSL servers with certificates that are completely invalid because they do not match the domain name on which they reside," Ivan Ristic, director of engineering at Qualys, said.'"
Bug

Toyota Acceleration and Embedded System Bugs 499

Posted by Soulskill
from the bugs-that-lead-to-crashes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "David Cummings, a programmer who worked on the Mars Pathfinder project, has written an interesting editorial in the L.A. Times encouraging Toyota to drop claims of software infallibility in their recent acceleration problems. He argues that embedded systems developers must program more defensively, and that companies should stop relying on software for safety. Quoting: 'If Toyota has indeed tested its software as thoroughly as it says without finding any bugs, my response is simple: Keep trying. Find new ways to instrument the software, and come up with more creative tests. The odds are that there are still bugs in the code, which may or may not be related to unintended acceleration. Until these bugs are identified, how can you be certain they are not related to sudden acceleration?'"
Science

Scientists Postulate Extinct Hominid With 150 IQ 568

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-could-they-invent-pizza-rolls dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger have an interesting article in Discover Magazine about the Boskops, an extinct hominid that had big eyes, child-like faces, and forebrains roughly 50% larger than modern man indicating they may have had an average intelligence of around 150, making them geniuses among Homo sapiens. The combination of a large cranium and immature face would look decidedly unusual to modern eyes, but not entirely unfamiliar. Such faces peer out from the covers of countless science fiction books and are often attached to 'alien abductors' in movies. Naturalist Loren Eiseley wrote: 'Back there in the past, ten thousand years ago. The man of the future, with the big brain, the small teeth. He lived in Africa. His brain was bigger than your brain.' The history of evolutionary studies has been dogged by the almost irresistible idea that evolution leads to greater complexity, to animals that are more advanced than their predecessor, yet the existence of the Boskops argues otherwise — that humans with big brains, and perhaps great intelligence, occupied a substantial piece of southern Africa in the not very distant past, and that they eventually gave way to smaller-brained, possibly less advanced Homo sapiens — that is, ourselves. 'With 30 percent larger brains than ours now, we can readily calculate that a population with a mean brain size of 1,750 cc would be expected to have an average IQ of 149,' write Lynch and Granger. But why did they go extinct? 'Maybe all that thoughtfulness was of no particular survival value in 10,000 BC. Lacking the external hard drive of a literate society, the Boskops were unable to exploit the vast potential locked up in their expanded cortex,' write Lynch and Granger. 'They were born just a few millennia too soon.'"
Books

DRM and the Destruction of the Book 419

Posted by samzenpus
from the reading-is-fundamental dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "EFF reports that Cory Doctorow spoke to a crowd of about a hundred librarians, educators, publishers, authors, and students at the National Reading Summit on How to Destroy the Book and said that 'anyone who claims that readers can’t and won’t and shouldn’t own their books are bent on the destruction of the book, the destruction of publishing, and the destruction of authorship itself.' Doctorow says that for centuries, copyright has acknowledged that sacred connection between readers and their books and that when you own a book 'it’s yours to give away, yours to keep, yours to license or to borrow, to inherit or to be included in your safe for your children' and that 'the most important part of the experience of a book is knowing that it can be owned.'"
Science

The Neuroscience of Screwing Up 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the nobody-is-right-all-the-time dept.
resistant writes "As the evocative title from Wired magazine implies, Kevin Dunbar of the University of Toronto has taken an in-depth and fascinating look at scientific error, the scientists who cope with it, and sometimes transcend it to find new lines of inquiry. From the article: 'Dunbar came away from his in vivo studies with an unsettling insight: Science is a deeply frustrating pursuit. Although the researchers were mostly using established techniques, more than 50 percent of their data was unexpected. (In some labs, the figure exceeded 75 percent.) "The scientists had these elaborate theories about what was supposed to happen," Dunbar says. "But the results kept contradicting their theories. It wasn't uncommon for someone to spend a month on a project and then just discard all their data because the data didn't make sense."'"
Censorship

Court Orders Shutdown of H-1B Critics' Websites 605

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the with-great-power-comes-awh-screw-it dept.
theodp writes "Computerworld reports that a NJ Superior Court Judge ordered hosting firms to shut down three Web sites that oppose the H-1B visa program and seeks information about the identity of anonymous posters. GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Comcast and DiscountASP.Net were ordered to disable ITgrunt.com, Endh1b.com, and Guestworkerfraud.com. Facebook Inc. was also ordered to disable ITgrunt's Facebook page. The judge's order was made in response to a libel lawsuit filed by Apex Technology Group Inc., which is citing its copyright ownership as it seeks the identity of the poster of a since-removed Apex employment agreement on Docstoc.com, which drew critical comments on US and India websites."
Technology

China's DIY Aviators Take Flight 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the Icarus-lee dept.
ScuttleMonkey writes "China’s emerging aviator class is spreading its wings with a plethora of approaches, from the ramshackle to the sophisticated to the potentially revolutionary. They’re using everything imaginable, from old motorcycle engines to electric motors to even their own legs, like Mao Yiqing and his human-powered airplane. You could easily plot these adventurous innovators on a graph, with the X axis showing their skill and the Y axis their financial means."
Intel

Intel Patches Flaws In Trusted Execution Tech 84

Posted by kdawson
from the trusting-trust dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Joanna Rutkowska's company Invisible Things Lab has issued the results of their research into flaws in Intel's Trusted Execution Technology (TXT), whose function is to provide a mechanism for safe loading of system software and to protect sensitive files. ITL describes how flaws in TXT can be used to compromise the integrity of a software loaded via an Intel TXT-based loader in a generic way, fully circumventing any protection TXT is supposed to provide. The attack exploits an implementation error in the so-called SINIT Authenticated Code modules and that could potentially allow a malicious attacker to elevate their privileges. Intel has released a patch for the affected chipsets, which include the Q35, GM45, PM45 Express, Q45, and Q43 Express." Here are ITL's press release (PDF) and Intel's advisory.
Books

Grigory Perelman and the Poincare Conjecture 241

Posted by kdawson
from the another-tortured-genius dept.
EagleHasLanded writes "Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman doesn't talk to journalists. Actually, he doesn't talk to anyone anymore. So we'll have to settle for insights via his biographer, Masha Gessen, who, strangely enough, has never talked to him either. But she has spoken with just about everyone who has ever had any significant interaction with Perelman, and the result is the book Perfect Rigor, which more than adequately explains why Perelman has gone into self-imposed exile, and why he probably won't collect the million dollars he won by solving the Poincare Conjecture."

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