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+ - 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->

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) 298

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) 678

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

Link to Original Source

+ - 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

Link to Original Source

+ - Japan to land unmanned lunar probe in 2018->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning to attempt Japan’s first lunar landing in fiscal 2018, sources close to the project said Sunday. JAXA has said it will use unmanned probes to study the possible use of materials on the moon as well as its environment, which could pave the way for future manned missions. JAXA is expected to brief a government panel on the project with the aim of securing funding for mission preparations from the budget for fiscal 2016, which begins next April, the sources said

The lunar probe is likely to be launched on an Epsilon advanced rocket, the sources said

The SLIM mission is aimed at establishing a method for pinpoint landings that would make it possible to approach a target area with a level of accuracy ranging in the hundreds of meters

Link to Original Source

+ - William Shatner wants to build a water pipe->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: The 84-year old Startrek star wants to build a water pipe to bring water to California

All it'll cost, according to Mr. Shatner, is $30 billion, and he wants to kickstart the funding campaign, by crowdsourcing

According to Mr. Shatner, if the kickstart campaign doesn't raise enough money then he will donate whatever that has been collected to a politician who promise to build that water pipe

As for where he wants to get the water from?

Seattle, "A place where there’s a lot of water. There’s too much water" says Mr. Shatner

Link to Original Source

+ - Assange Talk Causes Judges Across The UK To Boycott/Walk Out Of Legal Conference->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow was subjected to walk outs and boycott once it became known that Julian Assange was to appear by video link from the Ecuadorian embassy to give a talk at the conference. The Guardian reports that, "Judges from Scotland, England and Wales and the UK supreme court had agreed to speak at or chair other sessions but withdrew – in some cases after arriving at the conference centre– when they found out about Assange’s appearance. Among those to boycott the conference were the most senior judge in Scotland, Lord Gill, and two judges on the supreme court, Lord Neuberger and Lord Hodge. A spokesperson for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: “The conference programme was changed to include Mr Assange’s participation at short notice and without consultation. Mr Assange is, as a matter of law, currently a fugitive from justice, and it would therefore not be appropriate for judges to be addressed by him. “Under these circumstances, the lord president, Lord Gill, and the other Scottish judicial officeholders in attendance have withdrawn from the conference.” A spokesman for the UK supreme court added: “Lord Neuberger and Lord Hodge share the concerns expressed by Lord Gill and his fellow senior Scottish judges ... “As a result of this unfortunate development, they trust that delegates will understand their decision to withdraw from the conference. ...” A spokesman for judiciary of England and Wales said: “The lord chief justice shares the concerns expressed by Lord Gill and Lord Neuberger ... He agreed with the position taken by both, and the judges of England and Wales also withdrew from the conference. ...”"
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