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+ - MIT's Bitcoin-Inspired 'Enigma' Lets Computers Mine Encrypted Data->

Guy Zyskind writes: On Tuesday, a pair of bitcoin entrepreneurs and the MIT Media Lab revealed a prototype for a system called Enigma, designed to achieve a decades-old goal in data security known as “homomorphic” encryption: A way to encrypt data such that it can be shared with a third party and used in computations without it ever being decrypted. That mathematical trick—which would allow untrusted computers to accurately run computations on sensitive data without putting the data at risk of hacker breaches or surveillance—has only become more urgent in an age when millions of users constantly share their secrets with cloud services ranging from Amazon and Dropbox to Google and Facebook. Now, with bitcoin’s tricks in their arsenal, Enigma’s creators say they can now pull off homomorphically encrypted computations more efficiently than ever.
Link to Original Source

+ - Is Safari the new IE?->

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple. "It’s hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin’ Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year’s WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he’ll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately." He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it’s time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we’re going to hurt somebody’s feelings."
Link to Original Source

+ - Apple Loses Ebook Price Fixing Appeal, Must Pay $450 Million->

An anonymous reader writes: A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 today that Apple indeed conspired to with publishers to increase ebook prices. The ruling puts Apple on the hook for the $450 million settlement reached in 2014 with lawyers and attorneys general from 33 states. The Justice Dept. contended that the price-fixing conspiracy raised the price of some e-books from the $10 standard set by Amazon to $13-$15. The one dissenting judge argued that Apple's efforts weren't anti-competitive because Amazon held 90% of the market at the time. Apple is unhappy with the ruling, but they haven't announced plans to take the case further. They said, "While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps."
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Comment: Re:bit coin doesn't solve the strategic issue. (Score 3, Insightful) 358 358

What would exiting the Euro actually accomplish?

A lot. First of all, the money system could be in the hands of society instead of the other way around, as it is now. This could change the very definition of money for the Greeks.

The current situation in Europe is that all the nations are under control of the European Central Bank. NOT the other way around, as the ECB is an independent institution. This independent institution however has the power to grab as much money from the nations as they want (through the "stability pact"). Even so, it is just a bank, but with the right to print money.

Now you all know how fiat money is made, right? You have to give (well, promise) a valuable thing to the bank (the "security"), the bank puts in in the books, says "hey, we have an extra amount of money in the books!" and "lends" it out to you. I put the word "lends" between quotes, because it is not lent, but created by this bookkeping fraud. The money never existed before the loan. Off course, holding their laugh, the bank says that they are doing something risky by lending your own value out to you, so they ask usury. In Newspeak: interest. So, basically, you pay the bank to hijack your security.

There is off course a downside to this piramid scheme: the usury that you have to pay extra has never existed and can only be generated by new loans! At some point you are lending so much to pay the usury (thus bringing more and more valuable items to the bank as security!), that loads get refused, and you will have to default or plunder even more resources to give away to the bank. That is where Greece is right now. The Greeks have nothing to loose, as they have been plundered to the bone already.

Now what would happen if society itself (represented by the goverment for example) could issue money? In that case money could become "effort for the greater good of society" instead of "bottomless debt to an independent company". The government could pay "made up" money to people building roads, providing healthcare, etc. That money can then circulate further within society. The difference would not be that the money is made up (it is made up now also), but that money would actually get a real value. Off course, the goverment can always "unmake up" the money with taxes. But hey, taxes can be much lower. Instead of requiring high taxes in bank-debt to pay to road-building companies and to repay it and more to the ECB, the money can become its own tax! You pay in effort to society instead of in bank debt to the bank!

Off course there is a catch: everything depends on how wise the amount of money is chosen to be paid to society. Too little, and society will issue its own currency (and pay in sigarettes, for example). Too much, and nobody will believe the numbers. Vary too fast, and the money will be unreliable. I really wish the Greek goverment a lot of wisdom.

As an aside, if the government prints the money, they can set the rules as well. A ban on usury ("interest"), for example. Or a ban on speculation that is no more than a gambling game. Or even negative interest (some local currencies feature this) to encourage people to keep the money circulating.

All in all, getting control over their own money is the best (and I think the only) option left to Greece.

+ - Judge orders Dutch governemt to finally take action on climate promises->

Errol backfiring writes: Although the Dutch government has promised to make sure carbon emissions are lowered considerably, they have consistently failed to take action on this matter. Dutch climate group Urgenda and Dutch citizens have gone to court to force the government to take action, and the verdict (linked page is in Dutch) is that the government must reduce emissions by al least 25% compared to the 1990 level.

This 25% is seen as the minimum effort needed to keep the people safe from climate change dangers. 25% to 40% is the norm in international climate policy.

The verdict is also important for similar climate groups in other countries.

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Comment: Re:More stupid reporting on SlashDot (Score 1) 192 192

Do you have any idea how much it would cost the tax payers to try to *replace* all that embedded technology?

A lot less then trying to work around systems that cannot be maintained, let alone be repaired and are therefore utterly broken. Have you any idea how many security leaks their software must have? Even if they upgrade Windows for a few MegaBucks, all the libraries used inside the software remain unpatched. Heck, if somebody from China wants to be anonymous on-line, it is probably easier to do through the US Navy than through any Chinese server.

Comment: Re:Good thing Slashdot isn't in the EU (Score 1) 401 401

Good thing Slashdot isn't in the EU

Are you sure? Tax havens like the Netherlands are "home" to a huge lot of companies who are only there on paper to avoid taxation. However, there have already been a lot of lawsuits by such companies abusing Dutch treaties. So many in fact, that other countries are thinking of revoking all their treaties with the Netherlands.

Comment: Insurance? (Score 5, Insightful) 169 169

Given that nuclear energy producers are not required to have an insurance against nuclear disasters (at least on this side of the Pond), is insurance included or is it as usual "delegated" to society? The calculator itself refuses to run without cross-site scripting attacks from Google, so I could not check.

If it serves as a "basis for discussion", you can bet it serves a political rather than a technical purpose.

Comment: Re:Wind power is not the answer. (Score 1) 256 256

I don't know where you come from, but if a windmill or a wind turbine makes any noise at all, it is time to put some grease on the bearings. Modern wind turbines run at their own pace and synchronize the frequency themselves before adding the power to the grid. And what I really cannot understand is why people complain about wind turbines being ugly and not about flood-lighted billboards. These are really ugly, but nobody complains about them.

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year