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+ - Russia 1,700 ~~~ America 0->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: Russia has evacuated 1,700 of its citizens from Yemen while the total number of United States citizens the government of the United States of America has evacuated from Yemen stands at a perfect ZERO

In fact, Russia has evacuated American citizens from Yemens while the State Department of the United States of America has yet to do anything
Please watch the vids at

and at
and read the news at
and at

Link to Original Source

+ - The creation of Fact-Free-Zone in the modern world->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: This report outlines how the Islamic State is able to create a Fact Free Zone with very little objective reporting coming from areas under the group’s control or areas it is contesting and the way Islamic States has purported the social media services, from Facebook, to Youtube, to Tweeter, to further its course

In this age of ubiquitous information-sharing technology the Islamic State’s media effort is an integral and essential part of its operations, on a par with its military and administrative effort. In this respect it is greatly helped by the decentralized nature of social media (particularly Twitter), which has allowed each of its supporters effectively to create and operate his or her own ministry of information, echoing a standard party line as well as creating and spreading IS’s messaging. In effect, IS is crowdsourcing its own propaganda

However, Islamic States' deliberate targeting, kidnapping, and brutal killing of journalists has resulted in a vacuum in which the job for 'news reporting' falls to the laps of avid supporters of the Islamic State

There is no precedent for this, given the novelty of social media platforms and file-sharing sites, and so, in a counterintuitive move, the group has indeed maximized control of its message by giving up control of its delivery

The importance of social media to the group is evident in the way that pictures of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declaring the Caliphate on July 4, 2014 appeared on Twitter before the video of his full speech was uploaded on YouTube, helping to ensure that it would be carried on most major international news networks

For example, links to the violent hour-long video “Flames of War,” issued by The Islamic State on September 16, 2014 through its official outlet, al Hayat Media, were posted in several places on the widely-used file-sharing site These links were then tweeted out to tens of thousands of online supporters, who then re-tweeted the links, and, importantly, created new pages and links on The video was also uploaded to YouTube on many accounts in order to overcome the inevitable suppression of the video for violating YouTube standards of use. Just one randomly selected page promoting the video among dozens of others, recorded 18,034 views in just seven hours on September 18, 2014, showing the ease, breadth, and speed with which the group is able to spread its message directly to the intended audience. The problems with censoring such a decentralized distribution system were well-illustrated by the two days it took mainstream social media to take notice of what was happening

The crowdsourcing of messages negates the need for a single point of contact. This might leave the group vulnerable to unofficial messages polluting its media stream but it is a small annoyance compared to the gains it reaps

Link to Original Source

+ - Microsoft infringes other's patents->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: A judge of the International Trade Commission of the United States of America has found that the software giant used InterDigital Inc's technology in its mobile phones without permission

The judge, Theodore Essex, said that Microsoft infringed two wireless cellular patents owned by InterDigital, and that it would not be against the public interest to ban the Microsoft devices from being imported into the United States

The ITC has the authority to stop the import of products that it determines infringe a U.S. patent. Companies frequently sue at the ITC to win an import ban and in district court to win damages

InterDigital Executive Vice President Lawrence Shay said the company looks forward to "continued discussion" with Microsoft to license its patents

The case at the ITC is No. 337-613

Link to Original Source

+ - Flushing out suspicious social media activity using Benford's Law->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: Benford's Law (See ) refers to the frequency distribution of digits in many types of real-life data in which the digit "1" occurs as the leading digit about 30% of the time

Jennifer Golbeck at the University of Maryland in College Park applied Benford's Law on data of users from five major social networks, and in tweeter only 170 people out of the 21,000 that she investigated had a correlation lower than 0.5

When she investigated further, she discovered that only 2 accounts out of the 170 seem to belong to legitimate users, with the rest (168) are part of a Russian botnet

That’s interesting work that has important implications for social network forensics. In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to spot accounts on social networks that are engaged in suspicious activity. Comparing a large number of these against Benford’s law is a quick and simple way to find ones that require further investigation

Of course, this process will not find all suspicious accounts. Any account that grows in the same way as a conventional one would remain hidden and it’s possible that maleficent users could employ simple techniques to make their accounts less identifiable now that this method has been revealed

But for the time being, Benford’s law looks to be a valuable tool in the war against fraud and suspicious activity on social networks. “The applicability of Benford’s Law to social media is a new tool for analyzing user behavior, understanding when and why natural deviations may occur, and ultimately detecting when abnormal forces are at work,” concludes Ms. Golbeck

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+ - How to make law enforcement much less accountable-> 1

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: According to Google and Facebook, letting the U.S. government unlock encrypted customer data would make law enforcement less accountable

Their comments came a day after the White House cybersecurity czar and the U.S. secretary for homeland security both said encryption was hobbling law enforcement and that the government needed ways around it

Keith Enright, Google’s chief privacy officer said that such tools could also undermine the accountability of law enforcement officials seeking access to private data

Enright added that a lack of transparency in government access to user data is already a problem. “Law enforcement has been overreaching,” he said. “We want to drive as much transparency for law enforcement access as possible”

“The trust of the people that use our services is paramount,” said Erin Egan, of Facebook “Anything antithetical to that we’re not going to be okay with"

Trevor Hughes, CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, believes that most Internet companies would be similarly wary of any program or technology that gave the U.S. government a way to beat encryption

The bad press that has affected companies targeted by NSA surveillance has inspired many to be more stringent in checking that the government requests they receive are valid, Hughes said. And protecting customer privacy has come to be seen as a competitive necessity. “Differentiation based on better privacy and encryption is in the marketplace today, and I think it’s going to increase,” he said

Link to Original Source

+ - Bees prefer nectar laced with Neonicotinoids->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine

Neonicotinoids kill insect by overwhelming and short-circuting the insects' central nervous system (See )

Shell and Bayer started the development of Neonicotinoids back in the 1980's and 1990's

Since this new group of pesticide came to the market the bee population have been seriously devastated in regions where the pesticide are been widely used

In 2008 neonicotinoids came under increasing scrutiny over their environmental impacts starting in Germany

In 2012, studies have shown that neonicotinoid uses are linked to crash of bee population (See )

New studies, however, have discovered that bees prefer nectars that are laced with neonicotinoids, over nectars that are free of any trace of neonicotinoids (See )

According to researchers at Newcastle University the bees may "get a buzz" from the nicotine-like chemicals in the same way smokers crave cigarettes

BBC also covers this case (See )

Link to Original Source

+ - Hubble turns 25->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Currently it is flying about 340 miles over the Earth and circling us every 97 minutes

While the telescope itself is not really much to look at, that silver bucket is pure gold for astronomers

Scientists have used that vantage point to make ground-breaking observations about planets, stars, galaxies and to reveal parts of our universe we didn't know existed. The telescope has made more than 1 million observations and astronomers have used Hubble data in more than 12,700 scientific papers, "making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built," according to NASA

The truly spectacular images of the cosmo have also led to a scientific bounty that has far exceeded Hubble’s original goals: measuring how fast the universe is expanding; figuring out how galaxies evolve; and studying the gas that lies between galaxies

NASA aims to keep Hubble operating through at least 2020 so that it can overlap with its successor. The James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch in October 2018 and begin observations in mid-2019

The institute is reviewing scientists’ proposals for telescope time and mulling if some projects merit special attention as Hubble nears its end. Typically, the program receives about five requests for every hour of available telescope time

“There’s clearly there’s no lack of things to do with this observatory in its remaining years. The question is what do we do?” Sembach said at a recent American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle

More links @

Link to Original Source

+ - MIT Developing AI to Better Diagnose Cancer->

Submitted by stowie
stowie writes: Working with Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT has developed a computational model that aims to automatically suggest cancer diagnoses by learning from thousands of data points from past pathology reports. The core idea is a technique called Subgraph Augmented Non-negative Tensor Factorization (SANTF). In SANTF, data from 800-plus medical cases are organized as a 3D table where the dimensions correspond to the set of patients, the set of frequent subgraphs, and the collection of words appearing in and near each data element mentioned in the reports. This scheme clusters each of these dimensions simultaneously, using the relationships in each dimension to constrain those in the others. Researchers can then link test results to lymphoma subtypes.
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Comment: Would you kindly cut out the political crap? (Score 4, Insightful) 301

If you still have any respect for this forum within Slashdot, would you kindly cut out your political crap, please?

As this is a thread discussing the action of GREEDY ASSHOLES of the Music Industry, can you please stick to the context?

Subservience to the vested elite is not limited to the Conservatives - the critters on the other side of the isle, the Liberals, have also proven to be doing the same thing

It is thus an utter disgust for you kind to pollute this conversation by astroturfing the 'conservative vs liberal' debate

Comment: View of a guy from China (Score 1) 680

by Taco Cowboy (#49542329) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

I'm 64 and I like Snowden.
I don't know if he's a snob, an asshat, a jerk or a nice guy and I don't care
What he did was a great service to the population and citizenry of the USA

I love my country, America, but I fear my Government

Age-wise I am not that far from you

I am not an American by birth, I got it through the naturalization process

I do love America - the country, but the government? The more anti constitutional things it does the more I am fearful of it

I came from China, and I guess I do not need to remind you guys the reputation of the CCP which controls China --- and the real sad thing is that the government of the United States of America is fast approaching the level of notoriety of the CCP government of China

+ - Russia to close 40% of its universities by 2016->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: According to Russian Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov the number of Russian universities will be cut by 40% by the end of 2016

Livanov said the number of universities was five times higher now than during the days of the USSR and was too high: “This is mainly the result of the opening of a huge number of private universities during the 1990s. Unfortunately, the results of our monitoring showed that the quality of education provided by some of them is very poor

He said that some institutions acted as “offices for the sale of certificates that do not have an established training process and qualified teachers”

The majority of cuts will affect private universities that provide a poor standard of education. This year, quality checks officially started on 10 March, and the results will be submitted to the Education Ministry by 30 May

An official spokesman for the ministry said it was a possible that some of the closed universities, including their infrastructure and teachers, could be absorbed by other regional universities that would continue to operate

As part of the plans, up to 100 universities will be subject to quality assessments over the next few months and this may result in some being closed. The process is set to be completed by the middle to the end of 2016

The latest plans have been welcomed by some of Russia’s leading employers. German Gref, President of Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank which employs about 240,000 workers, said the nation needed a transition to a new model of education

“At present, the majority of Russian students, teachers and employers are unhappy with the quality of higher education. In the case of employers, about 60% consider the quality of higher education in the country to be inadequate, and in need of improvement,” Gref said

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+ - Is Japan losing its influence in global semiconductor market?->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: In the 1990's Japan-based semiconductor manufacturers wielded their greatest influence on the global stage by holding six of the top 10 positions. The six Japan-based companies that were counted among the top-10 semiconductor suppliers in 1990 is a number that has not been matched by any country or region since

The number of Japan-based companies ranked in the top-10 in semiconductor sales slipped to four in 1995, fell to three companies in 2000 and 2006, and then to only two companies in 2014 – Toshiba and Renesas – among the top-10 semiconductor suppliers

Assuming the NXP/Freescale merger is completed later in 2015, Toshiba will be the lone Japan-based company left in the top-10 ranking

Will America be the next to lose global semiconductor influence?

Link to Original Source

+ - Rosetta spacecraft witnessed and recorded a 'Comet Fart'-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: On March 12, the Rosetta spacecraft was imaging Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from a distance of 75 kilometers (46 miles) and by pure chance it spotted an eruption of dusty material from the shaded nucleus

Long-duration spacecraft are essential if we are to fully understand the evolution of a comet as it gradually heats up during its approach to the sun. And it just so happens that Rosetta is always in orbit around 67P’s nucleus, ready to spot any transient event that could erupt at any time on the surface

This latest event focuses on the comet’s shaded underside. It is assumed that some sunlight slowly heated an outcrop, providing enough energy to sublimate subsurface ices, ejecting vapor and dust as a jet. The transient jet was imaged and measured by Rosetta’s scientific imaging system OSIRIS

There is also the possibility that a wave of heating passed through the icy material, eventually producing a more explosive jet event

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"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- Looney Tunes, Ali Baba Bunny (1957, Chuck Jones)