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Submission + - Music evolving by listeners' taste, with a slashdot history (

Shipud writes: A collaboration between a group in Imperial College and Media Interaction group in Japan yielded a really cool website: The idea is to apply Darwinian-like selection to music. Starting form a garble, after several generations producing something that is actually melodic and listen-able. The selective force being the appeal of the tune to the listener. From the paper published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "At any given time, a DarwinTunes population has 100 loops, each of which is 8 s long. Consumers ratethem on a five-point scale (“I can’t stand it” to “I love it”) as they are streamed in random order. When 20 loops have been rated,truncation selection is applied whereby the best 10 loops are paired, recombine, and have two daughters each." Note that in 2009 the creators of darwintunes harnessed the power of slashdot to help "evolve" their site.

Submission + - Women Have Edge On 'Brogrammers' at DEFCON Social Engineering CTF (

chicksdaddy writes: "Men may dominate the ranks of vulnerability researchers and hackers, but could women be the superior social engineers? That's a question that the organizers of the annual Social Engineering Capture the Flag (CTF) contest at DEFCON will try to answer.

In a break from recent years, the third annual DEFCON Social Engineering CTF will pit ten men against ten women in a battle of the sexes to see who can better weasel, cajole and worm their way into obtaining sensitive information from some of the U.S.'s leading corporations. And, according to one of the contest's organizers, the smart money is on the women.

"Unfortunately, there's a chauvinist consensus that females don't get security," said Chris Hadnagy of, which sponsors the annual Capture the Flag contest. "The truth is that, as social engineers, women do better. We've seen hacktivists like Anonymous and LulzSec used females as part of their attacks.""


Submission + - Venus to Appear in Once-In-A-Lifetime Event (

revealingheart writes: ScienceDaily reports that on 5 and 6 June this year, millions of people around the world will be able to see Venus pass across the face of the Sun in what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It will take Venus about six hours to complete its transit, appearing as a small black dot on the Sun's surface, in an event that will not happen again until 2117.

Transits of Venus occur only on the very rare occasions when Venus and Earth are in a line with the Sun. At other times Venus passes below or above the Sun because the two orbits are at a slight angle to each other. Transits occur in pairs separated by eight years, with the gap between pairs of transits alternating between 105.5 and 121.5 years — the last transit was in 2004.

"We are fortunate in that we are truly living in a golden period of planetary transits and it is one of which I hope astronomers can take full advantage," writes Jay M Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College, Massachusetts.


Submission + - Kentucky telephone companies pushing for option to end basic service (

An anonymous reader writes: There is a bill pending in the Kentucky State Senate that would eliminate almost all Public Service Commission oversight over local phone companies. Written by AT&T lobbyists, SB135 is being pushed by the phone companies as a "modernization" of rules. It would keep the PSC from investigating phone service on its own and eliminate rules concerning price discrimination, price increases, required published rates, and performance objectives. It also will prevent any state agency from imposing net neutrality, and will enable phone companies to use the fact that there are cell phones to refuse to run a land line. The text of the bill is at

Submission + - Megaupload programmer denied internet access (

An anonymous reader writes: The head programmer of the Megaupload website has been granted bail on the condition internet access is blocked to all members of his household.

Bram van der Kolk, 29, left North Shore District Court with his wife today after he was was granted bail to an Auckland address.

The FBI is seeking to extradite van der Kolk, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, Finn Batato and Mathias Ortmann to the United States after the closure of Megaupload on January 19.


Submission + - FBI Warns Hacktivists: You're Breaking the Law (

bdcny7927 writes: In an exclusive interview with, the FBI official in charge of cybercrime speaks for the first time with the media specifically about hacktivism. Here, Assistant Executive Director Shawn Henry describes the threats hacktivists pose, the challenges associated with investigating them, and the FBI's success disrupting these groups. He also delivers a special message to hacktivists.

Submission + - (

ambermichelle writes: Astronauts are serious when it comes to playing make believe. In fact, it’s their job. Before going to real space they have to visit pretend space in full dress up. Depending on what they need to learn, astronauts may have to suit up for a mission in the Arizona desert, a ride on the vomit comet, or a couple hours dangling over a giant air hockey table. But to experience full immersion in a three-dimensional environment, astronauts turn to the deep blue.

Submission + - How SOPA could actually break the internet (

MrSeb writes: "Depending on how its implemented, SOPA could demolish the cohesive structure of the internet by damaging the core functionality of the DNS system. As written, SOPA tasks ISPs with preventing US internet users from accessing a site that’s been deemed to contain infringing content by preventing their browsers 'from resolving to that domain name’s Internet Protocol address.' The question is, how might that sort of blocking actually be accomplished? The only real solution is to create a DNS blacklist at the ISP level that prevents US citizens from seeing infringing content — but then what's to stop users from simply using an offshore DNS? The US will then pressure those offshore services to fall into line — but alternatively, we could be looking at a complete schism, where the US internet breaks away from Europe and Asia. Perhaps we might soon be living in a world where both an ARPANET and a RIPENET coexist..."
The Media

Submission + - Using WikiLeaks as a Tool in Investigative Journal

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "It took a team of ten reporters working two months to sift through 250,000 confidential American diplomatic cables at the NY Times but when a story idea recently came up that I wanted to research in more detail, I found Wikileaks to be a very useful and accessible tool for further investigation. First, some background: For the past ten years I have written stories about Peace Corps safety and medical issues, the Peace Corps' budget appropriations, and the work done by volunteers in their countries of service on a web site I publish called "Peace Corps Online." When the Peace Corps announced last month they were taking the unusual step of suspending their program in Kazakhstan and withdrawing all 117 volunteers, I decided to dig deeper and find out what was behind the decision to leave the country. First I went to blogs of volunteers serving in Kazakhstan and found that four rapes or sexual assaults of volunteers had occurred in the past year and that it had became increasingly difficult for volunteers to conduct their work. But the biggest revelation was when I found fourteen US diplomatic cables on Wikileaks that cited elements in the Kazakhstani "pro-Russian old-guard at the Committee for National Security (the KNB, successor to the KGB) aimed at discrediting the Peace Corps and damaging bilateral relations" with the US. Further investigation on Wikileaks revealed how one Peace Corps volunteer had been sentenced to two years imprisonment in 2009 after "what appeared to be a classic Soviet-style set-up." The volunteer was only freed through the diplomatic efforts of US Ambassador Richard Hoagland and the personal intervention of Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev.""

Submission + - US watchdog bans Photoshop use in cosmetics ads (

MrSeb writes: "In an interesting move that should finally bring the United States’ fast-and-loose advertising rules and regulations into line with the UK and EU, the National Advertising Division (NAD) — the advertising industry’s self-regulating watchdog — has moved to ban the misleading use of photoshopping and enhanced post-production in cosmetics adverts. The ban stems from a Procter & Gamble (P&G) CoverGirl ad that photoshopped a model’s eyelashes to exaggerate the effects of NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara. There was a footnote in the ad’s spiel about the photo being manipulated, but according to the director of the NAD, that simply isn’t enough: “You can’t use a photograph to demonstrate how a cosmetic will look after it is applied to a woman’s face and then — in the mice type — have a disclosure that says ‘okay, not really.’” The NAD ruled that the ad was unacceptable, and P&G has since discontinued it. The ruling goes one step further, though, and points out that "professional styling, make-up, photography and the product’s inherent covering and smoothing nature” should be enough, without adding Photoshop to the mix. The cosmetics industry is obviously a good starting point — but what if the ban leaks over to product photography (I'm looking at you, Burger King), video gameplay demos, or a photographer's own works?"

Submission + - Hubble pic of a 30 octillion ton baby's tantrum ( 2

The Bad Astronomer writes: "In what is one of the most staggeringly beautiful Hubble pictures ever taken, a newly-born massive star is blasting four separate jets of material into its surrounding cocoon, carving out cavities in the material over two light years long. But only three of the jets appear to have matter still inside them, and the central star is off-center. This may be a gorgeous picture, but the science behind it is equally as compelling."

Submission + - Generation Y Won't Listen To IT (

Gunkerty Jeb writes: The latest generation of desk-jockey’s admitted in a recent CISCO study that they frequently ignore and/or circumvent the information technology (IT) policies of their employers, heightening corporate risk.

The CISCO Connected World Technology Report surveyed some 2,800 college students and young professionals in 14 of the world’s fastest growing economies. The report found that two thirds of young employees worldwide admitted to breaking a number of IT policies with regularity, with many saying they didn’t believe they were doing anything wrong.

The report found that breaking IT rules was often necessary to do their work. A fifth of participants claimed that they need access to restricted programs and applications in order to get their job done. Firms that did a poor or inconsisent job enforcing IT rules also were a common complaint. Slightly less than a fifth of respondents surveyed said that policies aren’t being enforced. Still other younger workers seemed comfortable sidestepping IT rules just because they could. Respondents said that they didn’t even think about the policies at work, that adhering to the rules was inconvenient, that they forget to follow policies, or that their bosses aren’t watching.

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"Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to be maintained." -- The Tao of Programming