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Submission + - Second OPM Hack Revealed: Even Worse Than The First (

nickweller writes: Oh great. So after we learned late yesterday that the hack of all sorts of data from the federal government's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was likely much worse than originally believed — including leaking all Social Security numbers unencrypted — and that the so-called cybersecurity "experts" within the government weren't even the ones who discovered the hack, things are looking even worse.

'The forms authorities believed may have been stolen en masse, known as Standard Form 86, require applicants to fill out deeply personal information about mental illnesses, drug and alcohol use, past arrests and bankruptcies. They also require the listing of contacts and relatives, potentially exposing any foreign relatives of U.S. intelligence employees to coercion. Both the applicant's Social Security number and that of his or her cohabitant is required.'

Submission + - How to prevent an idea from being patented? 6

Simon Brooke writes: I have an idea for a simple medical device which would greatly help in the monitoring of a disease I have, and several other diseases as well. Sooner or later one of the medical device companies is going to come up with this idea, patent it, and make a monopoly profit from it. I would much rather it were in the public domain, so all device manufacturers could use it freely, and it would therefore be available to patients at lower cost. Is there any way I can publish it that puts it in the public record, and prevents patents? Or should I actually apply for a patent and then give it away royalty free?

Submission + - DEA Planned to Monitor Cars Parked at Gun Shows Using License Plate Readers writes: According to a newly disclosed DEA email obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives collaborated on plans to monitor gun show attendees using automatic license plate readers. Responding to inquiries about the document, the DEA said that the monitoring of gun shows was merely a proposal and was never implemented. “The proposal in the email was only a suggestion. It was never authorized by DEA, and the idea under discussion in the email was never launched,’’ says DEA administrator Michele Leonhart.

According to the Wall Street Journal the proposal shows the challenges and risks facing the U.S. as it looks to new, potentially intrusive surveillance technology to help stop criminals. Many of the government’s recent efforts have scooped up data from innocent Americans, as well as those suspected of crimes, creating records that lawmakers and others say raise privacy concerns. "Automatic license plate readers must not be used to collect information on lawful activity — whether it be peacefully assembling for lawful purposes, or driving on the nation's highways," says the ACLU. "Without strong regulations and greater transparency, this new technology will only increase the threat of illegitimate government surveillance." National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says the NRA is “looking into this to see if gun owners were improperly targeted, and has no further comment until we have all the facts.”

Submission + - Man Saves Wife's Sight by 3D Printing Her Tumor (

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Balzer, a former software engineer and Air Force technical instructor, found himself unsatisfied with a doctor's diagnosis of a small tumor behind his wife's left eye. Balzer had recently become proficient at creating 3D models, so he asked the doctor for the raw medical imaging data and took a look himself. In addition to correcting a later misdiagnosis, Balzer 3D printed models of his wife's cranium and helped neurosurgeons plan a procedure to remove the tumor, instead of waiting to see how it developed, like previous doctors had recommended. During the procedure, surgeons found the tumor was beginning to entangle her optic nerve, and even a six-month wait would have had dire consequences for her eyesight.

Medical researchers like Dr. Michael Patton believe this sort of prototyping will become "the new normal" in a very short time. "What you can now do through 3D printing is like what you’re able to do in the software world: Rapid iteration, fail fast, get something to market quickly. You can print the prototypes, and then you can print out model organs on which to test the products. You can potentially obviate the need for some animal studies, and you can do this proof of concept before extensive patient trials are conducted.

Submission + - OpenBSD's kernel gets W^X treatment on amd64 ( 2

brynet writes: Theo de Raadt wrote:

Over the last two months Mike Larkin (mlarkin@) modified the amd64 kernel to follow the W^X principles. It started as a humble exercise to fix the .rodata segment, and kind of went crazy. As a result, no part of the kernel address space is writeable and executable simultaneously. At least that is the idea, modulo mistakes. Final attention to detail (which some of you experienced in buggy drafts in snapshots) was to make the MP and ACPI trampolines follow W^X, furthermore they are unmapped when not required. Final picture is many architectures were improved, but amd64 and sparc64 look the best due to MMU features available to service the W^X model. The entire safety model is also improved by a limited form of kernel ASLR (the code segment does not move around yet, but data and page table ASLR is fairly good.

Submission + - Suggested Programming Books for Young Kids

sydsavage writes: I've been tasked with recommending some good books for the child of a friend who is interested in learning to program. He's just shy of 13 years old, and is an avid Minecrafter. Last year I built a server for him, and he has shown real aptitude managing and customizing various plugins, managing permissions, and creating redstone circuits and command blocks. So what would you recommend for a young person to begin learning to program? And what languages would you recommend? Java is an obvious choice, due to his interest in Minecraft, but I'd like to hear reasoning for other languages with which to get started.

Submission + - National Park Service Says Tech Enabling Stupidity 2

theodp writes: The National Park Service is finding technology to be a double-edged sword. While new technologies can and do save lives, the NPS is also finding that unseasoned hikers and campers are now boldly going where they never would have gone before, counting on cellphones, GPS, and SPOT devices to bail them out if they get into trouble. Last fall, a group of hikers in the Grand Canyon called in rescue helicopters three times by pressing the emergency button on their satellite location device. When rangers arrived the second time, the hikers complained that their water supply tasted salty. 'Because of having that electronic device, people have an expectation that they can do something stupid and be rescued,' said a spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park. 'Every once in a while we get a call from someone who has gone to the top of a peak, the weather has turned and they are confused about how to get down and they want someone to personally escort them. The answer is that you are up there for the night.'

Submission + - So What's the Bad Wiring Advice?

Residentcur writes: The popular press is full of stories about a recall of Sunset DIY books on home wiring. The recall is based on supposed bad advice contained in these books and going back three decades, but neither the government body responsible for it nor the publisher is willing to say what the problem is. In my view, it defies logic that this should be kept secret, since presumably many will fail to turn in these dangerous books and may well continue to follow their guidance going forward. No doubt someone in possession of such a book could scour it for at least a likely explanation for the recall. So far I have been unable to find even a speculation about the nature of the bad advice, amongst all the "this will teach you not to try to do it yourself" drivel. Can anyone enlighten this avid home electrician what to look out for in these books?

My mother is a fish. - William Faulkner