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The Military

Submission + - Pentagon wants advanced math concepts for battle

coondoggie writes: Military scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency over a year ago put out a call to get answers to what it called the world's 23 toughest math questions with the idea that major math breakthroughs could greatly enhance the country's security. While it is unclear what DARPA would do with the answers to those questions, the Pentagon today added to the search for mathematical genius by announcing it was looking to more tightly couple advanced math concepts with battlefield tactics. Specifically, the Department of Defense said it was looking to fully realize the power of sophisticated mathematics and push the frontiers of traditional applied mathematics and to cultivate mathematical ideas that are not represented in typical applications today.

Blizzard Authenticators May Become Mandatory 248

An anonymous reader writes " is reporting that a trusted source has informed them that Blizzard is giving serious consideration to making authenticators mandatory on all World of Warcraft accounts. The authenticators function the same as ones provided by most banks — in order to log in, you must generate a number on the external device. Blizzard already provides a free iPhone app that functions as an authenticator. The source stated, 'it is a virtually forgone conclusion that it will happen.' This comes after large spates of compromised accounts left Bizzard game masters severely backlogged by restoration requests."

PHP 5.3 Released 120

Sudheer writes "The PHP development team is proud to announce the immediate release of PHP 5.3.0. This release is a major improvement in the 5.X series, which includes a large number of new features and bug fixes. Some of the key new features include: namespaces, late static binding, closures, optional garbage collection for cyclic references, new extensions (like ext/phar, ext/intl and ext/fileinfo), over 140 bug fixes and much more."

Comment Re:I don't think so (Score 1) 459

This is a very simple theory and as far as theories go, the simpler ones are more likely correct. Of course, this theory has unthinkable implications for those who believe that the Bible is nothing more than a bunch of myths and falsehoods. People who do not wish to believe in the Bible and the God of the Bible will go to great lengths to come up with other, usually more complicated explanations for this data.

You're just wrong. It's not that the "simpler" theories are usually correct. It is "simpler" for computers and televisions to work by magic, rather than by complex circuitry. It is "simpler" that people are either "evil" or "good", but that's clearly not the case. The point of Occam's Razor and the thinking behind it, which is what you mistakenly cited in your post, is not the eliminate shades of gray, since most systems worth considering are complex.

Occam's Razor actually suggests that one should eliminate unnecessary assumptions. In the first example, having to assume that some sort of "magic" exists that just "magically" makes computers and televisions work is an unnecessary and untenable assumption.

Your little rant basically is saying: "Wouldn't it be nice if God just made it all work, and we didn't have to think - people should stop thinking!" The world clearly demonstrations that if it was explicitly created by a God, his goal was that it all work without assumptions like you are making.

Comment Re:Argumentum ad antiquitatem? (Score 2, Informative) 136

Slashdot often discusses copyright as it applies to digital music, and it's interesting that the digital music industry began at a time in which there was heavy litigation over the copying of sheet music; this was in the late 1800's.

Hmm, whoops, I guess I mispoke. I don't know about the digital music industry beginning in the late 1800's. What I meant was the recorded music industry.

Either moderators were being kind and understanding (at Slashdot?!), or not only do slashdot members not RTFA, they don't RTFC either.

Comment Argumentum ad antiquitatem? (Score 5, Insightful) 136

As far as the argument goes that the patent structure has been litigious, complicated, and obnoxious for a long time, I think we can all agree. Slashdot often discusses copyright as it applies to digital music, and it's interesting that the digital music industry began at a time in which there was heavy litigation over the copying of sheet music; this was in the late 1800's.

But the argument that this complex patent superstructure doesn't reduce efficiency seems a little far fetched to me. Just because we've done it this way for a long time doesn't automatically mean that it's the best system. Who can say what would have happened over the last century and a half with less complicated patent laws? I'm sure there would be no consensus as to whether we would have done better or worse.

The most compelling case for copyright, for me, comes from Joseph Schumpeter's concept of creative destruction. In essence, he argues that copyright creates more innovation because it does not allow people to use the status quo of ideas. However, I'm not sure that the complexity of the copyright system is what he had in mind, since adding complexity increases barrier entries to innovators without increasing incentives to monopolists (i.e. copyright holders) to improve as well.

Comment Re:Great article but (Score 3, Insightful) 122

I recall slashdot discussing this previously in terms of Freenet, although it's probably not a full discussion of legal ramifications (since everyone here says IANAL compulsively). You'll find it here.

As far as I can tell, much like any legal issue, most of what you'll find as far as legal discussion is mainly a lot of "Well, such-and-such may or may not apply here. Please consult your lawyer."

As if we all just have consitutional (if you're in the US) lawyers on retainer. I wish people would just give some advice, even though it will not be authoritative.

For some specific dissembling on this topic, you can also see freenet's legal FAQ.

Comment Re:As with most technology (Score 5, Informative) 122

Not only does it cut both ways, but it should. The thing about freedom is that 9 times out of 10 it only becomes clear that an action was that of a "freedom fighter" rather than a "terrorist" in hindsight. This is the reason for the high standards for prior restraint of the press.

I'm not a fan of "sticking it to the man" in general, but when I hear about Tor and similar programs being used for "the wrong purposes" (whether that be organized crime, terrorism, etc), I feel better knowing that the software exists.

The day when no secure methods exist for organized crime to communicate with each other is likely the day when one is guilty until proven innocent. The broad curtailing of freedoms should give us pause every time it comes up; that doesn't seem to necessarily be the case anymore.

Submission + - SPAM: Google Analytics API Goes Public 1

stoolpigeon writes: "Google has announced the now public beta for the Google Analytics API. The API makes it possible for developers to create client applications capable of pulling analytics data. The API has been available through a private beta program for about a year. Some applications are already available such as Polaris on Adobe Air or Analytics for Android."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Profile Search moves Google closer to being an SNS ( 1

Venotar writes: "Many folks've already commented that google's recent integration efforts are beginning to look a bit like the foundation for a "Google SNS". Much of this discussion seems to swirl around the Google Profile pages and Google's Friend Connect. While it's long been possible to search Google Profiles by first entering an invalid profile URL (for example:, the google blog just announced that the profile search has now been made far more accessible — regular google searches for English proper names now provide a list of profile matches on the first page of results."

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall