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Math

World's Hardest Sudoku 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the addition-is-tricky dept.
jones_supa writes "A Finnish PhD in mathematics, Arto Inkala, has allegedly created the world's toughest sudoku puzzle. 'There's no straightforward way to define the difficulty level of a sudoku. I myself doubt if this is the hardest in the world, but definitely harder than my previous ones,' Inkala sets off humbly. The news agencies around Europe are nonetheless excited (Google translation of Finnish original). The particular difficulty in this version lies in the number of deductions you have to make in order to fill in a single number on the grid. 'It is a common misconception that the less initial numbers, the harder the puzzle. The most challenging ones have 21-25', the creator adds."
Education

+ - Prof Questions Sink-or-Swim Intro to CS Courses 2

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "'After having taught introductory programming (CS 1) for the past six years,' writes GVSU's Zack Kurmas, 'and having watched many students struggle through this course and the subsequent course (CS 2), I have come to the conclusion that it is absurd to expect students who don't have any prior programming experience to be well prepared to study Computer Science after a single 15-week course (i.e., CS 1). I believe that expecting a student to learn to program well enough to study Computer Science in a single 15-week course is almost as absurd as expecting a student with no instrumental musical experience to be ready to join the university orchestra after 15 weeks.' Kurmas' frustrations are not unlike those voiced by Physics prof Dr. Yung Tae Kim, who argues the up-or-out, one-size-fits-all rigid pace approach to learning set by teachers and administrators is as absurd as telling a toddler, 'You have ten weeks to walk, and if you can't, you get an F and you're not allowed to try to walk anymore.'"
Idle

+ - Best. Geek. Wedding. Invitation. Ever.->

Submitted by
kfogel
kfogel writes "Karen Sandler (a lawyer at the Software Freedom Law Center) and Mike Tarantino (a professional musician) are getting married in May. They've sent out the coolest wedding invitation ever: a beautifully packaged flexidisc record where the invitation itself is the record player. That's right: It's paper! And it plays a record! The song itself was written by Mike, is performed by Karen and Mike together, and FTW is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. The person who designed the invitations — a friend of the couple's — has blogged about it. It's also made Make Magazine, Mashable, and Geek.com."
Link to Original Source

+ - France Outlaws Hashed Passwords-> 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Storing passwords as hashes instead of plain text is now illegal in France, according to a draconian new data retention law. According to the BBC, "[t]he law obliges a range of e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers. This includes users' full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded." If the law survives a pending legal challenge by Google, Ebay and others, it may well keep some major services out of the country entirely."
Link to Original Source

+ - Samsung plants keyloggers on laptops it makes->

Submitted by
Saint Aardvark
Saint Aardvark writes "Mohammed Hassan writes in Network World that he found a keylogger program installed on his brand-new laptop — not once, but twice. After initial denials, Samsung has admitted they did this, saying it was to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used." As Hassan says, "In other words, Samsung wanted to gather usage data without obtaining consent from laptop owners." Three PR officers from Samsung have so far refused comment."
Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - Thai Criminal Court: FTP users are SysAdmins->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Having an access to FTP (File Transfer Protocol) service means you are a system administrator, therefore liable for criminal charge for any content presented on the website, whether you are the poster or not — according to Article 15 of Computer-related Crime Act. We learned this from Thai Criminal Court, on a ruling of a web designer of an anti-government political website. He was sentenced to 13 years in jail.

It's so cool to know that web designers who have access to FTP (how can they upload flashy animated GIFs without one?) are now all system administrators. And, according to the ruling's rational, even *anonymous* FTP users can be system administrators. We all now have a free ticket to jail :)"

Link to Original Source

+ - U.S. military commissions sock puppet program->

Submitted by chrb
chrb (1083577) writes "The Guardian and The Telegraph are reporting that U.S. based Ntrepid Corporation has been awarded a $2.76 million contract to develop software aimed at manipulating social media. The project aims to enable military personnel to control multiple "sock puppets" located at a range of geographically diverse IP addresses, with the aim of spreading pro-U.S. propaganda. The project will not target English speaking web sites (yet) but will be limited to foreign languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto. The project will be funded as part of the $200 million Operation Earnest Voice (OEV) program run by U.S. Central Command."
Link to Original Source
The Almighty Buck

+ - Anonymous leaks Internal Bank of America Emails->

Submitted by euphemistic
euphemistic (1850880) writes "Reportedly the information Wikileaks was set to disclose about a particular bank back from December, "a massive batch of internal Bank of America emails" has been leaked. While the site hosting it seems to currently be down due to the obviously gigantic amount of traffic interested in this leak, the leak is said to pertain to the Bank of America's improper foreclosure on homes. "The report came from a former employee with Balboa Insurance — a risk management and insurance firm. The employee reportedly corresponded with Bank of America employees and was told to falsify loan numbers on documents to force Bank of America to foreclose on homeowners.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Librarians boycott Harper Collins ebook killswitch->

Submitted by metrometro
metrometro (1092237) writes "boycottharpercollins.com has the story of Harper Collins attempt to end the right to loan a purchased ebook, via a license which kills the book after 26 reads. Librarians are not pleased: "We're not a business, we're a commons... this turns us into a rental outfit in the long-term." Video rental won this battle in the 1980s. Will librarians win today?"
Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - Westboro Baptists Stage Fake Anonymous Threat-> 1

Submitted by
lenwood
lenwood writes "Last week there was a story on /. reporting that the hacking group Anonymous was staging an attack against WBC (http://politics.slashdot.org/story/11/02/18/2336216/Anonymous-Goes-After-GodHatesFagscom#comments). Turns out that this was a publicity stunt staged by WBC themselves. Anonymous issued a press release disassociating themselves from this."
Link to Original Source

+ - Tolkien Estate Says No Historical Fiction For JRR->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Apparently the estate of JRR Tolkien isn't just over protective of his works, but of himself as well. It's in a bit of a legal spat with the author of a fictional work that includes JRR Tolkien as a character, and in part discusses his works. The estate is claiming that this infringes on Tokien's publicity rights, but if that's the case, would it make almost all "historical fiction" illegal?"
Link to Original Source
News

+ - Shocking Images Show Gulf Bottom Still Dead->

Submitted by intellitech
intellitech (1912116) writes "The Daily Mail is reporting that much of the oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. At a science conference in Washington today, Joye, a professor at the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't. New images from her submarine dives reveal a startling absence of life on the bottom of the Gulf."
Link to Original Source

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.

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