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Politics

+ - $76,684 Will Buy You A Hit On Public Broadband-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The University of Wisconsin received a $37 million federal grant to build a network of free broadband access in the state's schools and libraries. After AT&T spent a little over $76,000 to elect friendly Wisconsin lawmakers, however, the program is now on the chopping block.If AT&T gets its way, Wisconsin will have to give the money back and the university will have abandon the program."
Link to Original Source

+ - ISPs Consider World IPv6 Day Giant DOS Attack->

Submitted by mindbuilder
mindbuilder (960119) writes "Geoff Huston, chief scientist of APNIC, is saying that part of the reason for World IPv6 day is that internet content providers are worried that carriage providers are going to take advantage of the transition to widespread NAT to somehow control access to their customers and make content providers pay extra to carriage providers.

Carriage providers on the other hand see World IPv6 day as almost like a huge denial of service attack against their networks. Among other things they’re worried that they will be swamped by expensive tech support calls as customers can’t get to their favorite web sites. Some carriage providers are planning to block IPv6 traffic on World IPv6 day to protect their networks.

Meanwhile, the fact that many ISPs pay extra for equipment to put millions of internet users behind NAT and TAKE AWAY IPv4 addresses, even though they could get IPv4 addresses practically for free, makes it look to me unlikely that a lot of ISPs will pay extra to do the opposite and give out IPv6 addresses any time soon."

Link to Original Source

+ - Police Seize Computers Of Tor Exit Node->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Police in Austria who apparently aren't familiar with Tor or what an exit node is, have apparently seized the computer equipment of some people hosting a Tor exit node because the node was used to access an illegal porn site. How likely is it that the police will understand Tor vs. simply assuming those hosting a Tor exit node must be guilty of something?"
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Science

+ - Polynomial Time Code for 3-SAT Released, P==NP->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Vladimir Romanov has released what he claims is a polynomial-time algorithm for solving 3-SAT. Because 3-SAT is NP-complete, this would imply that P==NP. While there's still good reason to be skeptical that this is, in fact, true, he's made source code available and appears decidedly more serious than most of the people attempting to prove that P==NP or P!=NP. Even though this is probably wrong, just based on the sheer number of prior failures, it seems more likely to lead to new discoveries than most. Note that there are already algorithms to solve 3-SAT, including one that runs in time (4/3)^n and succeeds with high probability. Incidentally, this wouldn't necessarily imply that encryption is worthless: it may still be too slow to be practical."
Link to Original Source
Privacy

Herding Firesheep In NYC — Do Users Care? 200

Posted by timothy
from the not-so-much dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following the Firesheep uproar, I spent some time telling people who don't read Slashdot about the vulnerability that open WiFi networks create in what seemed like the most effective way possible: by sidejacking their accounts and sending them messages about how it happened. The results were surprising — would users really rather leave their accounts open to intruders rather than stay off Facebook at Starbucks? The link recounts the experience, and also lists some rough numbers of how many accounts could be compromised at a popular NY Starbucks location."
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."
Censorship

Congress Mulls China's Networked Authoritarianism 156

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the taking-notes-for-our-version dept.
eldavojohn writes "Rebecca MacKinnon tipped her hand about her congressional statements on China and how much Americans are invested in China's censorship, delivered today at a hearing on 'China's Information Control Practices and the Implications for the United States.' In an attempt to describe what China is pioneering, she coins the term 'networked authoritarianism.' Of most concern was Baidu, which has two Americans on its board of directors (out of five) as well as a lot of funding from American investors and mutual funds. From her testimony (PDF): 'As I have described in my testimony, the Chinese government has transferred much of the cost of censorship to the private sector. The American investment community has so far been willing to fund Chinese innovation in censorship technologies and systems without complaint or objection. Under such circumstances, Chinese industry leaders have little incentive and less encouragement to resist government demands that often contradict even China's own laws and constitution.' Is Congress genuinely concerned or are they just curious how they can make 'networked authoritarianism' work for them?"
Space

Giant Planet Nine Times the Mass of Jupiter Found 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the fat-planets dept.
cremeglace writes "In the late 1990s, astronomers noticed a distinct warp in the disk of dust and gas orbiting a young star some 60 light-years from Earth. Now, using new analytical tools, researchers have discovered a giant planet lurking within the dusty haze. About nine times as massive as Jupiter and composed mainly of gas, the planet is only a few million years old, proving that such enormous planetary bodies can form rapidly." What's amazing about this is that the images taken of the star clearly show the planet first on one side of the star, and then the other, several years later.
Censorship

PayPal Freezes Cryptome's Account 253

Posted by kdawson
from the gov-com-business-model dept.
grimwell sends in the news that after Cryptome's little run-in with Microsoft and NetSol, the activist site has now had its funds frozen by PayPal. Cryptome founder John Young notes, "Google lists thousands of instances of this asymmetrical high-handedness." "We have reviewed your PayPal Account, and due to the excessive risk involved, we would like to begin parting ways in a manner that is least disruptive to your business."
United States

US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition 630

Posted by kdawson
from the haunting-fear-that-someone-somewhere-is-having-a-good-time dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Deborah Blum has an article in Slate about the US government's mostly forgotten policy in the 1920s and 1930s of poisoning industrial alcohols manufactured in the US to scare people into giving up illicit drinking during Prohibition. Known as the 'chemist's war of Prohibition,' the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, killed at least 10,000 people between 1926 and 1933. The story begins with ratification of the 18th Amendment in 1919, which banned sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the US. By the mid-1920s, when the government saw that its 'noble experiment' was in danger of failing, it decided that the problem was that readily available methyl (industrial) alcohol — itself a poison — didn't taste nasty enough. The government put its chemists to work designing ever more unpalatable toxins — adding such chemicals as kerosene, brucine (a plant alkaloid closely related to strychnine), gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, and acetone. In 1926, in New York City, 1,200 were sickened by poisonous alcohol; 400 died. The following year, deaths climbed to 700. These numbers were repeated in cities around the country as public-health officials nationwide joined in the angry clamor to stop the poisoning program. But an official sense of higher purpose kept it in place, while lawmakers opposed to the plan were accused of being in cahoots with criminals and bootleggers. The chief medical examiner of New York City during the 1920s, one of the poisoning program's most outspoken opponents, liked to call it 'our national experiment in extermination.'"
Open Source

Delicious Details of Open Source Court Victory 202

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tooting-his-horn dept.
jammag writes "Open source advocate Bruce Perens tells the inside story of the recently concluded Jacobsen v. Katzer court case, in which an open source developer was awarded $100,000. Perens, an expert witness in the case, details the blow by blow, including how developers need to make sure they're using the correct open source license for legal protection. The actual court ruling is almost like some kind of Hollywood movie ending for Open Source, with the judge unequivocally siding with the underfunded open source developer."
Microsoft

Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update Phones Home Quarterly 819

Posted by kdawson
from the who-owns-your-computer dept.
Lauren Weinstein sends in news of a major and disturbing Microsoft anti-piracy initiative called Windows Activation Technologies, or WAT. Here is Microsoft's blog post giving their perspective on what WAT is for. From Lauren's blog: "The release of Windows 7 'Update for Microsoft Windows (KB71033)' will change the current activation and anti-piracy behavior of Windows 7 by triggering automatic 'phone home' operations over the Internet to Microsoft servers, typically for now at intervals of around 90 days. ... These automatic queries will repeatedly — apparently for as long as Windows is installed — validate your Windows 7 system against Microsoft's latest database of pirated system signatures (currently including more than 70 activation exploits known to Microsoft). If your system matches — again even if up to that time (which could be months or even years since you obtained the system) it had been declared to be genuine — then your system will be 'downgraded' to 'non-genuine' status until you take steps to obtain what Microsoft considers to be an authentic, validated, Windows 7 license. ... KB971033... is scheduled to deploy to the manual downloading 'Genuine Microsoft Software' site on February 16, and start pushing out automatically through the Windows Update environment on February 23. ... [F]or Microsoft to assert that they have the right to treat ordinary PC-using consumers in this manner — declaring their systems to be non-genuine and downgrading them at any time — is rather staggering." Update: 02/12 02:08 GMT by KD : Corrected the Microsoft Knowledge Base number to include a leading 9 that had been omitted in the pre-announcement, per L. Weinstein.
Space

Astronomers Discover the Coolest Known Sub-Stellar Body 60

Posted by Soulskill
from the miles-davis's-home-planet dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Science Daily reports that using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii, astronomers have discovered what may be the coolest sub-stellar body ever found outside our own solar system. Too small to be stars and with insufficient mass to maintain hydrogen-burning nuclear fusion reactions in their cores, 'brown dwarfs' have masses smaller than stars but larger than gas giant planets like Jupiter, with an upper limit in between 75 and 80 Jupiter masses. 'This looks like the fourth time in three years that the UKIRT has made a record breaking discovery of the coolest known brown dwarf, with an estimated temperature not far above 200 degrees Celsius,' says Dr. Philip Lucas at the University of Hertfordshire. Due to their low temperature these objects are very faint in visible light, and are detected by their glow at infrared wavelengths. The object known as SDSS1416+13B is in a wide orbit around a somewhat brighter and warmer brown dwarf, SDSS1416+13A, and the pair is located between 15 and 50 light years from the solar system, which is quite close in astronomical terms."
Books

Amazon Pulls Book Publisher's Listings; Ebook Wars Underway? 297

Posted by Soulskill
from the grab-some-popcorn dept.
As of last night, Amazon stopped listing all books from Macmillan Publishers, referring searches to other sellers instead. According to the New York Times, this is because Macmillan is one of the companies that now has an agreement to sell ebooks through Apple's new iBooks store, and asked Amazon to raise the price of their ebooks from $9.99 to $15. An industry source told the Times that the de-listing is Amazon's way of "expressing its strong disagreement" with the idea of a price hike. Gizmodo suggests this is the first volley in an Apple-Amazon ebook war. Quoting: "It feels like a repeat of the same s*** Universal Music, and later, NBC Universal pulled with iTunes, trying to counter the leverage Apple had because of iTunes' insane marketshare. Same situation here, really: Content provider wants more money/control over their content, fights with the overwhelmingly dominant, embedded service that's selling the content. Last time, everybody compromised and walked away mostly happy: Universal and NBC got more flexible pricing, iTunes got DRM-free music and more TV shows for its catalog to sell. ... The difference in this fight is that Macmillan is one of the publishers signed to deliver books for Apple's iBooks store. They have somewhere to run. And credibly. That wasn't really the case with record labels, who tried to fuel alternatives to dilute iTunes power, and failed."

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