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Submission + - OPM hackers suspected in United Airlines breach->

vivaoporto writes: Bloomberg reports that the hackers who stole data on more than 22 million U.S. insurance holders and government employees in recent months breached another big target at around the same time — United Airlines.

United, the world's second-largest airline, detected an incursion into its computer systems in May or early June, said several people familiar with the probe. According to three of these people, investigators working with the carrier have linked the attack to a group of China-backed hackers they say are behind several other large heists — including the theft of security-clearance records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and medical data from health insurer Anthem Inc.

The airline is still trying to determine exactly which data was removed from the network, said two of the people familiar with the probe. That assessment took months in the OPM case, which was discovered in April and made public in June.

Besides passenger lists and other flight-related data, the hackers may also have taken information related to United’s mergers and acquisitions strategy, one of the people familiar with the investigation said.

Flight manifests usually contain the names and birthdates of passengers, but even if those files were taken, experts say that would be unlikely to trigger disclosure requirements in any of the 47 states with breach-notification laws.

The timing of the United breach also raises questions about whether it's linked to computer faults that stranded thousands of the airline's passengers in two incidents over the past couple of months. Two additional people close to the probe, who like the others asked not to be identified when discussing the investigation, say the carrier has found no connection between the hack and a July 8 systems failure that halted flights for two hours. They didn't rule out a possible, tangential connection to an outage on June 2.

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Submission + - Kentucky Man shoots drone that was hovering over sunbathing 16-year old girl->

McGruber writes: Hillview, Kentucky resident William H. Merideth describes his Sunday afternoon: "Sunday afternoon, the kids – my girls – were out on the back deck, and the neighbors were out in their yard," Merideth said. "And they come in and said, 'Dad, there’s a drone out here, flying over everybody’s yard.'"

Merideth's neighbors saw it too. "It was just hovering above our house and it stayed for a few moments and then she finally waved and it took off," said neighbor Kim VanMeter. VanMeter has a 16-year-old daughter who lays out at their pool. She says a drone hovering with a camera is creepy and weird. "I just think you should have privacy in your own backyard," she said.

Merideth agrees and said he had to go see for himself. “Well, I came out and it was down by the neighbor’s house, about 10 feet off the ground, looking under their canopy that they’ve got under their back yard," Merideth said. "I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.’"

That moment soon arrived, he said. "Within a minute or so, here it came," he said. "It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky. I didn't shoot across the road, I didn't shoot across my neighbor's fences, I shot directly into the air."

It wasn't long before the drone's owners appeared. "Four guys came over to confront me about it, and I happened to be armed, so that changed their minds," Merideth said. "They asked me, 'Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?' and I said, 'Yes I am,'" he said. "I had my 40mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, 'If you cross my sidewalk, there's gonna be another shooting.'"

A short time later, Merideth said the police arrived. "There were some words exchanged there about my weapon, and I was open carry – it was completely legal," he said. "Long story short, after that, they took me to jail for wanton endangerment first degree and criminal mischief...because I fired the shotgun into the air."

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Submission + - Hacking a 'Smart' Sniper Rifle->

An anonymous reader writes: It was inevitable: as soon as we heard about the computer-aimed rifles, we knew somebody would find a way to compromise their security. At the upcoming Black Hat security conference, researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger will present their techniques for doing just that. "Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing." In one demonstration they were able to tweak the rifle's ballistic calculations by making it think a piece of ammunition weighed 72 lbs instead of 0.4 ounces. After changing this value, the gun tries to automatically adjust for the weight, and shoots significantly to the left. Fortunately, they couldn't find a way to make the gun fire without physically pulling the trigger.
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Submission + - Indonesians protest against expensive, unjust data tariffs->

An anonymous reader writes: Customers of Telkomsel, Indonesia’s state-owned mobile carrier, have joined in signing a petition outraged at the company’s data package pricing. Considered expensive even for those living in the country’s capital Jakarta, the telco charges up to twice as much for its data from customers considered to live in bad “zones” – or remote areas, with generally poorer communities. In an attempt to reverse the unjust pricing structure, activist Djali Gafur launched an internet petition called ‘Internet for the people’ – the site has already galvanised over 10,000 signatures.
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Submission + - MPEG LA Announces Call for DASH Patents->

An anonymous reader writes: The MPEG LA has announced a call for patents essential to the Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (or DASH) standard. According to the MPEG LA's press release, “Market adoption of DASH technology standards has increased to the point where the market would benefit from the availability of a convenient nondiscriminatory, nonexclusive worldwide one-stop patent pool license." The newly formed MPEG-DASH patent pool's licensing program will apparently offer "the market efficient access to this important technology."
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Submission + - Could the Slashdot community take control of Slashdot? 8 8

turp182 writes: This is intended to be an idea generation story for how the community itself could purchase and then control Slashdot. If this happened I believe a lot of former users would at least come and take a look, and some of them would participate again.

This is not about improving the site, only about aquiring the site.

First, here's what we know:
1. DHI (Dice) paid $20 million for Slashdot, SourceForce, and Freecode, purchased from Geeknet back in 2012:
    http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/...
2. Slashdot has an Alexa Global Rank of 1,689, obtaining actual traffic numbers require money to see:
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/...
3. According to Quantcast, Slashdot has over 250,000 unique monthly views:
    https://www.quantcast.com/slas...
4. Per an Arstechnia article, Slashdot Media (Slashdot and Sourceforge) had 2015Q2 revenues of $1.7 million and have expected full year revenues of $15-$16 million (which doesn't make sense given the quarterly number):
    http://arstechnica.com/informa...

Next, things we don't know:
0. Is Slashdot viable without a corporate owner? (the only question that matters)
1. What would DHI (Dice) sell Slashdot for? Would they split it from Sourceforge?
2. What are the hosting and equipment costs?
3. What are the personnel costs (editors, advertising saleforce, etc.)?
4. What other expenses does the site incur (legal for example)?
5. What is Slashdot's portion of the revenue of Slashdot Media?

These questions would need to be answered in order to valuate the site. Getting that info and performing the valuation would require expensive professional services.

What are possible ways we could proceed?

In my opinion, a non-profit organization would be the best route.

Finally, the hard part: Funding. Here are some ideas.

1. Benefactor(s) — It would be very nice to have people with some wealth that could help.
2. Crowdfunding/Kickstarter — I would contribute to such an effort I think a lot of Slashdotters would contribute. I think this would need to be a part of the funding rather than all of it.
3. Grants and Corporate Donations — Slashdot has a wide and varied membership and audience. We regularly see post from people that work at Google, Apple, and Microsoft. And at universities. We are developers (like me), scientists, experts, and also ordinary (also like me). A revived Slashdot could be a corporate cause in the world of tax deductions for companies.
4. ????
5. Profit!

Oh, the last thing: Is this even a relevant conversation?

I can't say. I think timing is the problem, with generating funds and access to financial information (probably won't get this without the funds) being the most critical barriers. Someone will buy the site, we're inside the top 2,000 global sites per info above.

The best solution, I believe, is to find a large corporate "sponsor" willing to help with the initial purchase and to be the recipient of any crowd sourcing funds to help repay them. The key is the site would have to have autonomy as a separate organization. They could have prime advertising space (so we should focus on IBM...) with the goal would be to repay the sponsor in full over time (no interest please?).

The second best is seeking a combination of "legal pledges" from companies/schools/organizations combined with crowdsourcing. This could get access to the necessary financials.

Also problematic, from a time perspective, a group of people would need to be formed to handle organization (managing fundraising/crowdsourcing) and interations with DHI (Dice). All volunteer for sure.

Is this even a relevant conversation? I say it is, I actually love Slashdot; it offers fun, entertaining, and enlightning conversation (I browse above the sewer), and I find the article selection interesting (this gyrates, but I still check a lot).

And to finish, the most critical question: Is Slashdot financially viable as an independent organization?

Submission + - Amazon Proposes Dedicated Airspace For Drones->

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon has published two new position papers which lay out its vision for future drone regulation. Under Amazon's plan, altitudes under 200ft would be reserved for basic hobbyist drones and those used for things like videography and inspection. Altitudes between 200ft and 400ft would be designated for "well-equipped vehicles" capable of operating autonomously out of line of sight. They would need sophisticated GPS tracking, a stable data uplink, communications capabilities with other drones, and sensors to avoid collisions. This, of course, is where Amazon would want to operate its drone delivery fleet. From 400ft to 500ft would be a no-fly zone buffer between the drone airspace and integrated airspace. Amazon's plan also makes room for "predefined low-risk areas," where hobbyists and other low-tech drones can fly higher than the 200ft ceiling. "Additionally, it is Amazon's view that air traffic management operations should follow a 'managed by exception' approach. This means operators are always aware of what the fleet is doing, yet they only intervene in significant off-nominal cases."
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Submission + - Poor Pilot Training Blamed for Virgin Galactic Crash-> 1 1

astroengine writes: SpaceShipTwo co-pilot Michael Alsbury was not properly trained to realize the consequences of unlocking the vehicle’s hinged tail section too soon, a mistake that led to his death and the destruction of the ship during a test flight in California last year. Responsibility for the accident falls to SpaceShipTwo manufacturer Scaled Composites, a Mojave, Calif., company owned by Northrop Grumman Corp, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined at a webcast hearing on Tuesday. Poor oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees commercial spaceflights in the United States, was also a factor in the accident, the NTSB said.
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Submission + - Scientists identify possible new substance with highest melting point

JoshuaZ writes: "Researchers from Brown University have tentatively identified an alloy of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon as having an expected melting point of about 7,460 degrees Fahrenheit (4120 Celsius). This exceeds the previous record breaker tantalum hafnium carbide which melts at 7,128 F (3942 C) and had stood as the record holder for almost a century. However, at this point, the record setter is still hypothetical, based on simulations. The new record has not yet been confirmed by experiment. http://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.92.020104 is the actual article while http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/07/28/behold-a-new-record-for-the-worlds-highest-melting-point/ is a lay summary. If the simulations turn out to be correct, the new alloy may be useful in parts like jet engines, and the door will be opened to using similar simulations to search for substances with even higher melting points or with other exotic properties.

Submission + - A Field Study on Technical Debt ->

heidibrayer writes: In their haste to deliver software capabilities, developers sometimes engage in less-than-optimal coding practices. If not addressed, these shortcuts can ultimately yield unexpected rework costs that offset the benefits of rapid delivery. Technical debt conceptualizes the tradeoff between the short-term benefits of rapid delivery and long-term value. Taking shortcuts to expedite the delivery of features in the short term incurs technical debt, analogous to financial debt, that must be paid off later to optimize long-term success. Managing technical debt is an increasingly critical aspect of producing cost-effective, timely, and high-quality software products, especially in projects that apply agile methods. A delicate balance is needed between the desire to release new software features rapidly to satisfy users and the desire to practice sound software engineering that reduces rework. Too often, however, technical debt focuses on coding issues when a broader perspective—one that incorporates software architectural concerns—is needed. This blog post, the first in a series, highlights the findings of a recent field study to assess the state of the practice and current thinking regarding technical debt and guide the development of a technical debt timeline.
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Submission + - Intel And Micron Unveil 3D XPoint Memory, 1000X Speed And Endurance Over Flash->

MojoKid writes: Today at a press conference in San Francisco, Intel and Micron unveiled 3D XPoint (Cross Point) memory technology, a non-volatile memory architecture so disruptive it could very well change the entire landscape of consumer electronics and computer architectures for years to come. Intel and Micron claim that 3D XPoint memory is 1000 times faster than NAND, boasts 1000x the endurance of NAND, and offers 8 — 10 times the density of conventional memory. 3D XPoint isn't electron based, it's material based. The companies aren't diving into specifics yet surrounding the materials used in 3D XPoint, but the physics are fundamentally different than what we're used to. It's 3D stackable and its cross point connect structure allows for dense packing and individual access at the cell level from the top or bottom of a memory array. Better still, Intel alluded to 3D XPoint not being as cost-prohibitive as you might expect. Intel's Rob Crooke explained "You could put the cost somewhere between NAND and DRAM." Products with the new memory are expected to arrive in 2016 and the joint venture is in production with wafers now.
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Submission + - Superhydrophobic nano-wallpaint in San Francisco pisses back on public pissers 2->

monkeyzoo writes: San Francisco is testing an ultra-water-repellant paint on wallls in areas fraught with public urination problems. The paint is designed to repel the urine and soil the pisser's pants. "It's supposed to, when people urinate, bounce back and hit them on the pants and get them wet. Hopefully that will discourage them. We will put a sign to give them a heads up," said Mohammad Nuru, director of the San Francisco public works. A Florida company named Ultra-Tech produces the super-hydrophobic oleophobic nano-coating that was also recently used with success on walls in Hamburg, Germany [video] to discourage public urination. Signs posted there warn, "Do not pee here! We pee back!" Time will tell if this works better than the firehose employed in India.
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