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Privacy

+ - Ubuntu's new Firefox is watching you-> 3

Submitted by sukotto
sukotto (122876) writes "Ubuntu recently released an unannounced and experimental "multisearch" extension to Firefox alpha3... apparently to improve the default behavior of new tabs and of search. In a response to one of the initial bug reports the maintainers mentioned that the extension's other purpose was for "collecting the usage data" and "Generating revenue" [citation] . Since this extension installs by itself and offers no warning about potential privacy violations, quite a few people (myself included) feel pretty unhappy.

There is no way to opt-out other than manually disabling the extension via Tools >> Add-ons."

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Government

+ - Email your disinformation to the Whitehouse->

Submitted by
CoffeePlease
CoffeePlease writes "The Whitehouse blog has announced a new way to report "disinformation" directly to the government. Here's your chance to turn in your neighbors, Nigerian scammers, senators, or friends that have sent you one too many chain emails.

"Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.""

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Security

+ - UK national ID card cloned in 12 minutes-> 1

Submitted by
Death Metal
Death Metal writes "The prospective national ID card was broken and cloned in 12 minutes, the Daily Mail revealed this morning.

The newspaper hired computer expert Adam Laurie to test the security that protects the information embedded in the chip on the card.

Using a Nokia mobile phone and a laptop computer, Laurie was able to copy the data on a card that is being issued to foreign nationals in minutes."

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Medicine

+ - SPAM: Is Genius I.Q. Linked to Psychosis? 2

Submitted by
destinyland
destinyland writes "New research suggests a genetic mutation linked to psychosis (and schizophrenia) could also be related to genius IQs. This supports the pscyhological theory that genius "blends intelligence with just the right amount of psychoticism" (which creates unconventional thinking). Evolution may even have favored schizophrenia and bipolar syndrome because the same gene also boosts creativity. But one geneticist still believes exactly the opposite. "Madness is often madness — and doesn't have as much genetic association with intelligence.""
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The Internet

+ - Researchers Say Wikipedia May Be in Slow Decline

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "New research shows that Wikipedia's ascendancy to the top of a large pool of online reference sites has come to an end as growth has leveled and the nature of the community has made it less welcoming to new contributors. "It's easy to say that Wikipedia will always be here," says Dr. Ed Chi, a senior scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center. "This research shows that is not a given." While the site is still wildly popular for those trying to figure out who played in Super Bowl XXII, the name of Pink Floyd's original frontman, or how a convection oven works, the explosive growth that characterized its early years leveled in 2006 at around 60,000 new articles per month, declining by nearly a third since then. But the trends within the community itself are far more troublesome. The year after the amount of new content flattened, the number of edits per month plateaued as well at around 5.5 million. Meanwhile, the number of users making edits leveled off at around 750,000 monthly. Data also suggests the Wikipedia community is becoming resistant to new content and new editors with passive editors who make just a single change per month seeing around a quarter of their changes erased or modified by other, more active editors. "This is evidence of growing resistance from the Wikipedia community to new content," says Chi. The resulting exclusion of more varied contributions shifts the balance of power on Wikipedia to those fewer active editors, and in turn could make Wikipedia more like a fraternity than a community-driven social encyclopedia. Wikipedia's growth "is consistent with a growth processes that hits a constraint — for instance, due to resource limitations in systems," writes Chi. "Rather than exponential growth, such systems display logistic growth.""
Education

+ - Teen dies in chinese gaming rehab camp

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes ""A teen, who was sent to a rehabilitation camp in China to cure his internet addiction was beaten to death by his trainers. While this is considered a cure for Internet addiction, it was not what the parents of Deng Senshan, 16, had in mind when they sent him to the camp. The three supervisors who allegedly beat him to death have been arrested." Seen on: http://www.fudzilla.com/content/view/14916/1/"
Space

+ - Solar Cycle Linked to Global Climate-> 2

Submitted by
Matt_dk
Matt_dk writes "Establishing a key link between the solar cycle and global climate, new research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) shows that maximum solar activity and its aftermath have impacts on Earth that resemble La Niña and El Niño events in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The research may pave the way toward better predictions of temperature and precipitation patterns at certain times during the Sun's cycle, which lasts approximately 11 years."
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Privacy

+ - Can we abandon Confidentiality for Google Apps? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I provide IT services for medium sized medical and law practices and have been getting a lot of feedback from doctors and lawyers who use gmail at home and believe that they can run a significant portion of their practice IT on Google Apps. From a support standpoint, I'd be happy to chuck mail/calendar service management into the bin and let them run with gmail, but for these businesses, there is significant legal liability associated with the confidentiality of their communications and records (eg HIPPA).

For those with high profile celebrity clients, stating that "Google employees can read your stuff" will usually end the conversation right there, but for smaller practices I often get a lot of pushback in the form of "What's wrong with trusting Google?" and "Google's not interested in our email/calendar". Weighing what they see as a tiny legal risk against the promise of Free IT Stuff(TM) becomes increasingly difficult in the face of the clear functionality/usability/ubiquity that they experience when using Google at home. So my question to the Slashdot community is this:

Are they right? Is it time for me to remove the Tin Foil Hat from their confidentiality obligations and stop resisting the juggernaut that is Google?
If not, what's the best way to clarify the confidentiality issues?"
Graphics

+ - Khronos Group released OpenGL 3.2->

Submitted by
Khronos Webmaster
Khronos Webmaster writes "The Khronos Group today released OpenGL 3.2, the third major update in twelve months to the most widely adopted 2D and 3D graphics API for personal computers and workstations. This new release continues the rapid evolution of the OpenGL standard to enable graphics developers to portably access cutting-edge GPU functionality across diverse operating systems and platforms. The full press release is available online, and the full specification is available for immediate download at http://www.opengl.org/registry. The Official OpenGL 3.2 discussion thread is now available on OpenGL.org."
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The Internet

+ - P2P-like Tahoe Filesystem Offers Secure Cloud Stor->

Submitted by suraj.sun
suraj.sun (1348507) writes "P2P-like Tahoe filesystem offers secure storage in the cloud

Tahoe is a secure cloud filesystem that is licensed under the GPL. Its distributed storage model, which resembles peer-to-peer networking, makes it possible to build a shared storage pool using excess drive capacity from multiple computers across the Internet.

Tahoe's underlying architecture is similar to that of a peer-to-peer network. Files are distributed across multiple nodes in a manner that allows data integrity to be maintained in the event that individual nodes are compromised or fail.

When a file is deployed to Tahoe, it is encrypted and split into pieces that are spread out across ten separate nodes. Using a variation of Reed-Solomon error correction, it can reconstruct a file using only three of the original ten nodes. This helps to ensure data integrity when some nodes are unavailable.

Tahoe is being used in a number of different ways, like a a "friendnet" or "hivecache" as described in project's wiki ( http://allmydata.org/trac/tahoe/wiki/UseCases ).

There is a simple interactive mockup ( http://bigasterisk.com/tahoe-playground/ ) that illustrates visually how Tahoe's distributed storage works.

ARS Technica : http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/08/p2p-like-tahoe-filesystem-offers-secure-storage-in-the-cloud.ars"

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Google

+ - AT&T: Your World Of Hurt Delivered->

Submitted by
Michael_Curator
Michael_Curator writes "AT&T was behind Apple's decision to pull the Google Voice app from the iTune store after all. This isn't conjecture — there is a smoking gun, which is the following response by an Apple customer service rep, posted by Google Voice developer Sean Kovacs. What a stupid move by AT not only will this cause all kinds of regulatory problems for the carrier, but the move effectively throws customers into the arms of its principal rival, Verizon. No wonder Google is upset."
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Math

+ - Computers Unlock Secrets Of Ancient Script.-> 1

Submitted by bagsta
bagsta (1562275) writes "Four-thousand years ago, an urban civilization lived and traded on what is now the border between Pakistan and India. During the past century, thousands of artifacts bearing hieroglyphics left by this prehistoric people have been discovered. Today, a team of Indian and American researchers are using mathematics and computer science to try to piece together information about the still-unknown script."
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Education

+ - Student sues college because she can't get a job->

Submitted by Buffaloaf
Buffaloaf (887591) writes "A recent graduate is suing her college for $72,000 because she cannot get a job. She feels that "any reasonable employer would pounce on an applicant with her academic credentials, which include a 2.7 grade-point average and a solid attendance record." $70,000 covers her tuition and $2,000 is for the stress of a 3 month job search."
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