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Censorship

"Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too 164

Posted by timothy
from the meet-your-new-program-director dept.
Slate reports that even old movies are enough to trigger a pretty strong knee jerk: Team America, World Police , selected as a tongue-in-cheek replacement by Dallas's Alamo Drafthouse Theater for the Sony-yanked The Interview after that film drew too much heat following the recent Sony hack, has also been pulled. The theater's tweet, as reprinted by Slate: "due to circumstances beyond our control,” their Dec. 27 Team America screening has also been canceled." If only I had a copy, I'd like to host a viewing party here in Austin for The Interview, which I want to see now more than ever. (And it would be a fitting venue.)

Comment: Re:What kind of statement is this (Score 1) 78

by Hartree (#48625377) Attached to: Over 9,000 PCs In Australia Infected By TorrentLocker Ransomware

"How can you even say that."

It's been my observation over years of dealing with them.

  Most people who use computers aren't the Slashdot crowd. They "kinda, sorta" know enough to be able to check their email, surf the web, or play some games.

Usually when they have a failure from malware, they've been infected (perhaps with other things as well) for some time. If they can even find the original system restore disk, they're way ahead of the game.

They get Cousin Jimmy (or one of their kids), cause he's good with computers, to clean up or reinstall their computer. Usually leaving many of the same holes that got them zapped in the first place.

Or, they get some computer store to deal with it. They just gripe about losing some stuff, but it was a game they liked and can no longer find, or an email from momma before she died, etc. not something life and death. They may start copying some things to a thumb drive, if you're lucky.

So many times I've asked "When was your last backup?" and get a vacant stare even from people with PhDs at the university I work at. Let alone the everyday person on the street who has a computer at home.

Comment: Backups solve much of the problem: (Score 4, Insightful) 78

by Hartree (#48623297) Attached to: Over 9,000 PCs In Australia Infected By TorrentLocker Ransomware

As computer files become more valuable to ordinary people (rather than just IT geeks and businesses), backup plans become more important.

Most general users don't do this, but as the data becomes more damaging if it's lost, encrypted or maliciously destroyed, they may need some sort of solution.

Even a pretty sophisticated ransom-ware would have a hard time if you take an occasional backup and check it by restoring/reading the file on another machine.

Comment: The real damage? (Score 1) 552

by Hartree (#48623235) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

I have this sneaking suspicion that the real damage that could be done to Sony is if the group that broke in got into the internal financial data rather than what gets reported.

Word has long been that the accounting practices of Hollywood and the music industry make Enron look pretty tame. And Sony is into both.

Imagine how many lawyers/accountants would be going over any financial records that get released. There are lots of actors and musicians that have felt they got shafted with what they were paid versus what they were actually owed.

Piracy

Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS 370

Posted by Soulskill
from the scorched-net-policy dept.
schwit1 sends this report from The Verge: Most anti-piracy tools take one of two paths: they either target the server that's sharing the files (pulling videos off YouTube or taking down sites like The Pirate Bay) or they make it harder to find (delisting offshore sites that share infringing content). But leaked documents reveal a frightening line of attack that's currently being considered by the MPAA: What if you simply erased any record that the site was there in the first place? To do that, the MPAA's lawyers would target the Domain Name System that directs traffic across the internet.

The tactic was first proposed as part of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in 2011, but three years after the law failed in Congress, the MPAA has been looking for legal justification for the practice in existing law and working with ISPs like Comcast to examine how a system might work technically. If a takedown notice could blacklist a site from every available DNS provider, the URL would be effectively erased from the internet. No one's ever tried to issue a takedown notice like that, but this latest memo suggests the MPAA is looking into it as a potentially powerful new tool in the fight against piracy.

+ - MIT removes online lectures by Walter Lewin due to sexual harassment accusations->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The physics online lectures and courses of Prof. Walter Lewin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Lewin_Lectures_on_Physics) are extremely popular in YouTube, and have been discussed several times in Slashdot.

Due to recent accusations of online sexual harassment against Prof. Lewin (who retired from MIT in 2008), MIT has decided to remove all lectures and courses (https://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/lewin-courses-removed-1208)."

Link to Original Source
China

Chinese Government Moves To Crack Down On Puns 156

Posted by timothy
from the where's-the-pun-in-that? dept.
FreedomFirstThenPeac (1235064) writes "A story in The Guardian tells us that in an Orwellian move to legislate language, the Chinese government is attempting to stop the use of puns because they are disruptive and may lead to chaos (not the mathematical kind) and as such are unsuitable for use. However, Chinese is rife with puns, with this example quoted in the story: "When couples marry, people will give them dates and peanuts – a reference to the wish Zaosheng guizi or 'May you soon give birth to a son.' The word for dates is also zao and peanuts are huasheng." The powerful date and peanut lobbies are up in arms, claiming that such a ban will cost them more than peanuts. Their claim? "If you outlaw puns. Only criminals will have puns."
Space

Stars Traveling Close To Light Speed Could Spread Life Through the Universe 184

Posted by samzenpus
from the starry-life-seed dept.
KentuckyFC writes Stars in the Milky Way typically travel at a few hundred kilometers per second relative to their peers. But in recent years, astronomers have found a dozen or so "hypervelocity stars" traveling at up to 1000 kilometers per second, fast enough to escape our galaxy entirely. And they have observed stars orbiting the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy traveling at least an order of magnitude faster than this, albeit while gravitationally bound. Now a pair of astrophysicists have discovered a mechanism that would free these stars, sending them rocketing into intergalactic space at speeds in excess of 100,000 kilometers per second. That's more than a third of the speed of light. They calculate that there should be about 100,000 of these stars in every cubic gigaparsec of space and that the next generation of space telescopes will be sensitive to spot them. That's interesting because these stars will be cosmological messengers that can tell us about the conditions in other parts of the universe when they formed. And because these stars can travel across much of the observable universe throughout their lifetimes, they could also be responsible for spreading life throughout the cosmos.

Comment: Re:Finally! (Score 1) 59

by Hartree (#48495519) Attached to: Test Flight For NASA's Orion Capsule Slated for December 4

So... The two of you are in agreement that we're completely fucked unless we follow your path.

However, you seem to disagree strongly about what that path is, save that yours is the "right" one.

Here are two cricket bats. Beat on each other until one of you is unconscious or you reach a consensus.

The rest of us will continue blundering our way to the future while you have it out. Hopefully, by then the answer won't matter anyway.

Crime

Breath Test For Pot Being Developed At WSU 342

Posted by timothy
from the what-point-oh-eight's-too-good-for-ya? dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from Tacoma, WA's News Tribune: A team at Washington State University is working to develop a breath test that could quickly determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana. Law enforcement officers already use preliminary breath tests in the field to estimate drivers' blood alcohol content. But no similar portable tool exists to test for marijuana impairment ... Stoned drivers have become an increasing concern since Washington voters legalized recreational use of marijuana ... A quarter of blood samples taken from drivers in 2013, the first full year the initiative was in effect, came back positive for pot. ... officers and prosecutors rely on blood tests to determine how much active THC is present in a driver's blood. Those test results aren't immediately available to patrol officers who suspect someone is driving high." Also reported: "Under Washington's legal marijuana law, those who get caught driving with a blood content of at least 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter are subject to an automatic driver's license suspension of 90 days or more."
Hardware

How the World's First Computer Was Rescued From the Scrap Heap 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-man's-trash dept.
anavictoriasaavedra sends this quote from Wired: "Eccentric billionaires are tough to impress, so their minions must always think big when handed vague assignments. Ross Perot's staffers did just that in 2006, when their boss declared that he wanted to decorate his Plano, Texas, headquarters with relics from computing history. Aware that a few measly Apple I's and Altair 880's wouldn't be enough to satisfy a former presidential candidate, Perot's people decided to acquire a more singular prize: a big chunk of ENIAC, the "Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer." The ENIAC was a 27-ton, 1,800-square-foot bundle of vacuum tubes and diodes that was arguably the world's first true computer. The hardware that Perot's team diligently unearthed and lovingly refurbished is now accessible to the general public for the first time, back at the same Army base where it almost rotted into oblivion.

Comment: Re:We've been doing it for a long time (Score 1) 367

"why would some intentional geoengineering be so bad?"

If it fails, not much.

But if it works, and global warming is controlled, it would undercut the best fundraising, societal engineering and lobbying arguments many organizations have.

Example: It'd remove a massive issue for the Democrats and Republicans to argue about and scare voters with.

Repeat that with both environmental and conservative organizations losing that issue, and you have a worse crisis for them than just the prospect of getting cooked by rising temperatures. ;)

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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