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Bill Would Require ISPs, Wi-Fi Users To Keep Logs 857

suraj.sun notes CNet reporting on bills filed in the US House and Senate that would require all ISPs and operators of Wi-Fi hotspots — including home users — to maintain access logs for 2 years to aid in law enforcement. The bills were filed by Republicans, but the article notes that the idea of forcing data retention has been popular on both sides of the aisle over the years. "Republican politicians on Thursday called for a sweeping new federal law that... would impose unprecedented data retention requirements on a broad swath of Internet access providers and is certain to draw fire from businesses and privacy advocates. ... Each [bill] contains the same language: 'A provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service shall retain for a period of at least two years all records or other information pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address the service assigns to that user [i.e., DHCP].'"

Security Checkpoints Predict What You Will Do 369

An anonymous reader writes "New security check points in 2020 will look just like something out of the futuristic movie, The Minority Report. The idea of the new checkpoints will allow high traffic to pass through just as you were walking at a normal pace. No more waving a wand to get through checkpoints — the new checkpoint can detect if you have plans to set off a bomb before you even enter the building."

PCGA To "Take Up the Challenge of Piracy" 134

Ars Technica reports that the PC Gaming Alliance has declared themselves the "guardians of PC gaming," which includes finding ways to help gamers decide on gaming hardware, and to make progress on the issues of piracy and DRM. "[PCGA President Randy Stude said,] 'The PCGA will take up the challenge of piracy, not to assume the responsibility that the ESA has taken on... rather the PCGA would like to address the methodology that publishers might be able to take to solve, or to do a better job trying to solve, the piracy challenge for their substantial investments in content.' The PCGA won't give a standard approach to publishers, saying it is much more likely it will release a series of recommendations to publishers, and track piracy on an annual basis to see if the problem is growing or shrinking. The PCGA is also working on methods for members to track how effective their antipiracy measures are once a game has been released."

Virtual Fence Could Modernize the Old West 216

Hugh Pickens writes "For more than a century, ranchers in the West have kept cattle in place with fences of barbed wire, split wood and, more recently, electrified wires. Now, animal science researchers with the Department of Agriculture are working on a system that will allow cowboys to herd their cattle remotely via radio by singing commands and whispering into their ears and tracking movements by satellite and computer. A video of Dean Anderson, a researcher at the USDA's Jornada Experimental Range at Las Cruces, NM., shows how he has built radios that attach to an animal's head that allow a person at the other end to issue a range of commands — gentle singing, sharp commands, or a buzz like a bee or snake — to get the cattle to move where one wants them to. Anderson says it would cost $900 today to put a radio device on one head of cattle, but he says costs will fall and the entire herd wouldn't have to be outfitted, just the 'leaders.' Much of the research has focused on how cattlemen can identify which cattle in their herds are the ones that the others follow."

1,500-Ship Fleet Proposed To Fight Climate Change 692

Roland Piquepaille writes "According to UK and US researchers, it should be possible to fight the global warming effects associated with an increase of dioxide levels by using autonomous cloud-seeding ships to spray salt water into the air. This project would require the deployment of a worldwide fleet of 1,500 unmanned ships to cool the Earth even if the level of carbon dioxide doubled. These 300-tonne ships 'would be powered by the wind, but would not use conventional sails. Instead they would be fitted with a number of 20 m-high, 2.5 m-diameter cylinders known as Flettner rotors. The researchers estimate that such ships would cost between £1m and £2m each. This translates to a US$2.65 to 5.3 billion total cost for the ships only."

Shadow Analysis Could Spot Terrorists 245

Hugh Pickens writes "An engineer at Jet Propulsion Labs says it should be possible to identify people from the way they walk — a technique called gait analysis, whose power lies in the fact that a person's walking style is very hard to disguise. Adrian Stoica has written software that recognizes human movement in aerial and satellite video footage by isolating moving shadows and using data on the time of day and the camera angle to correct shadows that are elongated or foreshortened. In tests on footage shot from the sixth floor of a building, Stoica says his software was indeed able to extract useful gait data. Extending the idea to satellites could prove trickier, though. Space imaging expert Bhupendra Jasani at King's College London says geostationary satellites simply don't have the resolution to provide useful detail. 'I find it hard to believe they could apply this technique from space,' says Jasani." Comments on the article speculate on the maximum resolution possible from KH-11 and KH-12 spy satellites.

A Mozilla Plugin to Help Overcome IE Rendering Flaw 270

least_weasel writes "An article on Ars Technica reveals Mozilla's intention to create and release a plugin for Internet Explorer that would allow the often-criticized IE to utilize some of the cooler rendering code developed for Firefox. The current WIP focuses on rendering using HTML5 standards, but the plans seem to be more ambitious than just fixing this one small piece of IE. The article covers some of the plans, hurdles, and potential benefits. It also spills the beans on the code name for the project: Screaming Monkey."

Same Dev Tools/Language/Framework For Everyone? 519

AC writes "Upper management of the company I work at recently declared that all new development should be done with a single combination of development tools, language, and framework. The main rationale is that people can be relocated from one group / project to another faster, because they don't need to learn a new environment when they switch. Of course the chosen language / framework used by everybody does not need to be the best tool for the job, but it should be good enough to allow every project to get done. What does Slashdot think about this? Is it OK to use the same development tools and language for every project, instead of choosing what fits best? Will the time saved be sufficient to offset the time lost to the 'not the best tool for the job' environment developers will be forced to use?"
The Internet

What Do You Want On Future Browsers? 628

Coach Wei writes "An industry wishlist for future browsers has been collected and developed by OpenAjax Alliance. Using wiki as an open collaboration tool, the feature list now lists 37 separate feature requests, covering a wide range of technology areas, such as security, Comet, multimedia, CSS, interactivity, and performance. The goal is to inform the browser vendors about what the Ajax developer community feels are most important for the next round of browsers (i.e., FF4, IE9, Safari4, and Opera10) and to provide supplemental details relative to the feature requests. Currently, the top three voted features are: 2D Drawing/Vector Graphics, The Two HTTP Connection Limit Issue, and HTML DOM Operation Performance In General . OpenAjax Alliance is calling for everyone to vote for his/her favorite features. The alliance also strongly encourages people to comment on the wiki pages for each of the existing features and to add any important new features that are not yet on the list."

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead