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The Economics of Drug Sales On the Dark Web 53 writes: Allison Schrager has an interesting article about how marketplaces for contraband drugs have only existed for about four years on the dark web, but they've made inroads fast. About 10%-15% of drug users in the U.K., U.S., and Australia [are believed to have] bought drugs off the net. According to Schrager, these marketplaces look remarkably similar to normal online marketplaces. Users leave detailed reviews on the quality of a vendor's product, speed of delivery, and how secure the shipping method was. There's information on where vendors are located and where they'll ship to. Some even post their refund and exchange policies. Purchasing meth from a dealer in the Netherlands feels as familiar and mundane as buying sheets from Macy's. The dark web makes transactions safer.

All the same, there are risks that Macy's customers don't run. Because there's no legal protection for illegal purchases, the bitcoin payments sit in escrow until the goods have been delivered and both parties are satisfied. That exposes the seller to exchange-rate risk, because bitcoin is an extremely volatile currency. And there is one other big source of risk: the point where the virtual world of the dark web and the world of physical reality intersect. In other words, getting drugs delivered. Certain drugs like MDMA and LSD may move mostly online. And the web may become the preferred source for affluent users and small-time pot dealers.

Followup: Library Board Unanimously Supports TOR Relay 95

Wrath0fb0b writes: Last week, the administrators of the Kilton Public Library in New Hampshire suspended a project to host a Tor relay after the DHS sent them an email asking them to reconsider. At a board meeting yesterday, the exit node was reinstated by unanimous vote. Board member Francis Oscadal said, "With any freedom there is risk. It came to me that I could vote in favor of the good ... or I could vote against the bad. I’d rather vote for the good because there is value to this." Deputy Police Chief Philip Roberts said, "We simply came in as law enforcement and said, 'These are the concerns.' We wanted to inform everyone so it was an educated decision by everyone involved." Deputy City Manager Paula Maville added, "This is about making an informed decision. Whatever you need to do, we’re here to support that."

Comment They're position is reasonable (Score 1) 198

they do not think that the position should have full access to the environment. It is an "architecture" position and not a "sysadmin" position is how they explained it to me.

That seems reasonable for a moderately sized company with the infrastructure you describe. Your analogy of drawing a map without being able to visit the area is a very good indicator of the miscommunication occurring here - you need to be able to see all the infrastructure, but you're asking for full access. To use an imperfect car analogy (this is Slashdot after all), you need to be able to lift the hood and see the engine. That's reasonable. You're asking for full access to change all parts of the car. That's overkill, actually implementing changes is outside the scope of your responsibilities.

A requirement of any senior role is the ability to delegate responsibilities and trust the input from your team and other managers. I suggest that as an architect you should be asking the IT core team for the network maps, system configuration lists, etc that you need as inputs for your design decisions. You can then respond with changes that are needed to their systems. In your new role you would have the authority that your changes are requirements not suggestions. However the responsibility to make those changes still rests with the IT core team - you don't need and should not have access to make those changes yourself.

I like to think of architect roles as consultants with authority. You give them the best documentation you have, and maybe read access to the systems. They come back with recommendations for changes, while architects have the authority to state them as requirements instead of just recommendations. But just like you wouldn't give an external consultant full admin to your systems (eg: domain controllers or databases), you wouldn't give it to an architect.


Countries Gaming Carbon Offsets May Have Dramatically Increased Emissions 158

schwit1 writes: Abuse of the carbon offset system may have caused emissions to increase by as much as 600 million tons. That's the finding of a new report from the Stockholm Environment Institute, which investigated carbon credits used to offset greenhouse gas emissions under a UN scheme. As one of the co-authors of the report put it, issuing these credits "was like printing money." From the article: "In some projects, chemicals known to warm the climate were created and then destroyed to claim cash. As a result of political horse trading at UN negotiations on climate change, countries like Russia and the Ukraine were allowed to create carbon credits from activities like curbing coal waste fires, or restricting gas emissions from petroleum production. Under the UN scheme, called Joint Implementation, they then were able to sell those credits to the European Union's carbon market. Companies bought the offsets rather than making their own more expensive, emissions cuts. But [the studey] says the vast majority of Russian and Ukrainian credits were in fact, "hot air" — no actual emissions were reduced.

Judge Rules That Inglewood, California Cannot Copyright Public Videos 67

UnknowingFool writes: Recently a judge ruled in California that the city of Inglewood cannot hold copyrights of videos of public city council meetings which they published on their YouTube account and thus cannot sue individuals for copyright infringement for using them. In several YouTube videos, Joseph Teixeira, a resident of Inglewood, California, criticized the mayor, James Butts. Under the account name Dehol Truth, Teixeira took city council meetings posted on their YouTube account and edited them to make pointed criticisms about the mayor.

The city responded by registering the videos with copyrights and then suing Teixeira for copyright infringement. Many would say it was a thinly veiled attempt to silence a critic. Teixeira filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that (1) the city cannot claim copyright over public records (videos of public city council meetings) and (2) even if they could, his videos fell under Fair Use.

Unsurprisingly, a judge dismissed the city's case, citing California law which bars the city from holding copyrights on most public records. (This case may not be over as Teixeira's pro bono lawyer has not filed for attorney's fees. The ruling can be found here.) What is notable is that the judge dismissed the case with prejudice, so the city cannot refile. Normally judges do not do this unless they feel that the plaintiff's case was so weak that he feels no judge should hear the case ever again. Since the judge agreed with the defendant on the first point, he would not normally need to address Teixeira's Fair Use defense, but he did anyway. Anticipating that the city may appeal his decision, judge ruled that Teixeira's videos substantially met all four factors for Fair Use:
  1. There is no evidence Teixeira used the videos for commercial gain and was transformative
  2. His work was creative by adding music and commentary to the normally boring council videos
  3. Despite the city's claim he used their "entire work", it clear that he only used portions of meetings that lasted as long as four hours editing them down to a max of 15 minutes.
  4. Teixeira did not harm the city's market for the videos because the city is barred by state law from recouping more than direct costs of duplication. Even if the city could sell the videos (which they published themselves for free on YouTube), his short videos are not a substitute.

Why Your Software Project Is Failing 119

An anonymous reader writes: At OSCON this year, Red Hat's Tom Callaway gave a talk entitled "This is Why You Fail: The Avoidable Mistakes Open Source Projects STILL Make." In 2009, Callaway was starting to work on the Chromium project—and to say it wasn't a pleasant experience was the biggest understatement Callaway made in his talk. Callaway said he likes challenges, but he felt buried by the project, and reached a point where he thought he should just quit his work. (Callaway said it's important to note that Chromium's code is not bad code; it's just a lot of code and a lot of code that Google didn't write.) This was making Callaway really frustrated, and people wanted to know what was upsetting him. Callaway wanted to be able to better explain his frustration, so he crafted this list which he called his "Points of Fail."

Comment FYI radio astronomers: Beware dodgy microwave oven (Score 4, Funny) 27

It's all well and good to enforce radio silence in the array's general area, but I hope they employ common sense as well. It took one batch of aussie radio astronomers 17 years to figure out that their dodgy microwave oven was causing intermittent interference; hopefully these guys aren't so clueless as to use unshielded electronics in any proximity to the array. Shielding your data centre is great, but it'll be the guy who forgets to turn off his cell phone that messes up your signal.
United States

US House Committee Approves Anti-GMO Labeling Law 446

An anonymous reader writes: The House Agriculture Committee approved a measure banning mandatory GMO labeling as well as local efforts to regulate genetically engineered crops. The decision is a major victory for U.S. food companies and other opponents of labeling genetically modified foods. "This... legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food rather than a 50 state patchwork of labeling laws that will only prove costly and confusing for consumers, farmers and food manufacturers," said Pamela Bailey, CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), said in a statement.

NASA's New Horizons Focuses On Pluto's Largest Moon Charon 77

MarkWhittington writes: New Horizons has already discovered much of what was previously unknown about Pluto, the dwarf planet that is the former ninth planet from the sun. NASA reported that the space probe has also uncovered some of the secrets of Pluto's largest moon, Charon. It has found indications of impact craters on the moon's gray surface as well as a chasm that seems to be bigger than the Grand Canyon on Earth. Charon has a diameter of just 1440 miles. By contrast, Earth has a diameter of 7918 miles.

Comment I'm getting 8 hrs, but my body wants 9 - 10 hrs (Score 1) 159

I have three little kids, the youngest not yet one year, so I'm unable to get all the sleep I'd like. I make do with about 8 hours a night, sometimes only 6 or 7. But on the very rare occasion that I'm away from the kids, I naturally sleep between 9 and 10 hours (and feel much more awake in the morning.)

Of interest might be my kids' sleep times: 9 hours for the six year old, 10 hours for the four year old, and 7 hours plus multiple naps for the infant.


Ghost Towns Is the First 8K Video Posted To YouTube -- But Can You Watch It? 181

Iddo Genuth writes: 4K videos and movies are still far from common and now 8K seems to start making its appearance online. A few days ago, what might be the first 8K video entitled "Ghost Towns" was published on Youtube and you can now watch it for yourself in its full 7680 × 4320 pixel glory — that is if you happen to have access to a 8K display (or projector).

The video was created by cinematographer Luke Neumann who used a 6K EPIC DRAGON camera using some advanced and complex techniques such as shooting in portrait orientation and then stitched the video together in Adobe After Effects. Some shots simply scaled up by 125% from 6.1K to meet the 7.6K standard and handheld stuff was 6K scaled up by 125% and sharpened up.

Youtube is now offering an 8K option and according to Google: "8K video has been supported since 2010, but that labeling for 8K video (the 4320p/8K quality setting like pictured above) was added "earlier this year — but presumably there was noting to view — until now...
Classic Games (Games)

1-Pixel Pac-Man 41

szczys writes: Retro games just aren't the same since the display technology resolution has exploded. I went the opposite direction and chose a display with less resolution than the original. This reinvention of Pac-Man uses a 32x32 RGB LED module which are made for LED billboards. This makes the player just one pixel. Add in an Atari joystick and we have a winner.This is a great programming challenge. If you've never looked at Pac-Man AI before, it's fascinating and worth your time!

China Unveils World's First Facial Recognition ATM 129

An anonymous reader links to an article at IB Times according to which: China has unveiled the world's first facial recognition ATM, which will not allow users to withdraw cash unless their face matches their IDs. The machine was created by Tsinghua University and Hangzhou-based technology company Tzekwan. It has a camera installed in it that captures the facial features of the user then compares it with a database of identification photos.

How Elon Musk's Growing Empire is Fueled By Government Subsidies 356

theodp writes: By the Los Angeles Times' reckoning, Elon Musk's Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support. The figure compiled by The Times, explains reporter Jerry Hirsch, comprises a variety of government incentives, including grants, tax breaks, factory construction, discounted loans and environmental credits that Tesla can sell. It also includes tax credits and rebates to buyers of solar panels and electric cars. "He definitely goes where there is government money," said an equity research analyst. "Musk and his companies' investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost," Hirsch adds. "The payoff for the public would come in the form of major pollution reductions, but only if solar panels and electric cars break through as viable mass-market products. For now, both remain niche products for mostly well-heeled customers." And as Musk moves into a new industry — battery-based home energy storage — Hirsch notes Tesla has already secured a commitment of $126 million in California subsidies to companies developing energy storage technology.

New Chrome Extension Uses Sound To Share URLs Between Devices 77

itwbennett writes: Google Tone is an experimental feature that could be used to easily and instantly share browser pages, search results, videos and other pages among devices, according to Google Research. "The initial prototype used an efficient audio transmission scheme that sounded terrible, so we played it beyond the range of human hearing," researcher Alex Kauffmann and software engineer Boris Smus wrote in a post on the Google Research blog.

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye