Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Submission + - PayPal discovers Freedom is risky (

grimwell writes: Date: Fri, 05 Mar 2010 04:03:37 -0800 to: cryptome[at] subject: Update to Your Account, PP-910-103-553 From: Dear John Young, We have reviewed your PayPal Account, and due to the excessive risk involved, we would like to begin parting ways in a manner that is least disruptive to your business.
Open Source

Delicious Details of Open Source Court Victory 202

jammag writes "Open source advocate Bruce Perens tells the inside story of the recently concluded Jacobsen v. Katzer court case, in which an open source developer was awarded $100,000. Perens, an expert witness in the case, details the blow by blow, including how developers need to make sure they're using the correct open source license for legal protection. The actual court ruling is almost like some kind of Hollywood movie ending for Open Source, with the judge unequivocally siding with the underfunded open source developer."

Submission + - 3 charges against Terry Childs dropped (

phantomfive writes: Terry Childs, who was arrested nearly a year ago for refusing to turn over the passwords to the San Francisco's FiberWAN network has been cleared for three of the four charges against him. The charges that were dropped referred to the attachment of modems to the network. The remaining charge is for refusing to turn over the password. The prosecutor has vowed to appeal, to have the charges reinstated. We have the original story, and the story where Childs tells his side, for those who want a refresher.

People Emit Visible Light 347

An Anonymous Reader writes "The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal. Japanese researchers have shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals."

Wind Could Provide 100% of World Energy Needs 867

Damien1972 sends in a report on a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, which finds that wind power could provide for the entire world's current and future energy needs. "To estimate the earth's capacity for wind power, the researchers first sectioned the globe into areas of approximately 3,300 square kilometers (2,050 square miles) and surveyed local wind speeds every six hours. They imagined 2.5 megawatt turbines crisscrossing the terrestrial globe, excluding 'areas classified as forested, areas occupied by permanent snow or ice, areas covered by water, and areas identified as either developed or urban,' according to the paper. They also included the possibility of 3.6 megawatt offshore wind turbines, but restricted them to 50 nautical miles off the coast and to oceans depths less than 200 meters. Using [these] criteria the researchers found that wind energy could not only supply all of the world's energy requirements, but it could provide over forty times the world's current electrical consumption and over five times the global use of total energy needs."
The Courts

How RIAA Case Should Have Played Out 296

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "If a regular 'country lawyer' like myself had taken a case like the RIAA's in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset to court, he or she would have been laughed out of the courthouse. But when it's the RIAA suing, the plaintiffs are awarded a $1.92 million verdict for the infringement of $23.76 worth of song files. That's because RIAA litigation proceeds in a parallel universe, which on its face looks like litigation, but isn't. On my blog I fantasize as to how the trial would have ended had it taken place not in the 'parallel universe,' but in the real world of litigation. In that world, the case would have been dismissed. And if the Judge had submitted it to the jury instead of dismissing, and the jury had ruled in favor of the RIAA, the 'statutory damages' awarded would have been less than $18,000."

Obama Taps IBM Open Source Advocate For USPTO 88

langelgjm writes "President Obama has announced his intent to nominate David Kappos, a VP and general counsel at IBM, to head the US Patent and Trademark Office. This move is particularly notable not only because of IBM's much friendlier attitudes towards open source compared with some of their rivals, but also because Kappos himself is open source-friendly: 'We are now the biggest supporters of the open source development project,' explains David. 'Admittedly this policy is not easily reconcilable with our traditional IP strategy, but we are convinced that it is the way to go for the future.' Not just a lawyer, Kappos earned an engineering degree before working in the legal field. Kappos has been described as 'critical of the American approach to patent policy.' Given his background, could this mean a new era for US patent policy?"

The State of Iran's Ongoing Netwar 263

An anonymous reader writes "Following disputed elections in Iran, opposition groups and activists have turned conventional protests into a major threat to the ruling government. The low-intensity protest movement is rapidly becoming the first true netwar of the 21st century. Opposition protesters have shown that within a few hours or less, the information technologies that are the mainstay of modern society can become its weapons, as well. This article examines the current situation in Iran and the part played by new media technologies and strategies, showing how far the theory and practice of netwar has advanced since the concept first emerged in the late nineties."

Saving Unix Heritage, One Kernel At a Time 169

coondoggie writes "In this, its 40th year of operating system life, some Unix stalwarts are trying to resurrect its past. That is, they are taking on the unenviable and difficult job of restoring to their former glory old Unix software artifacts such as early Unix kernels, compilers and other important historical source code pieces. In a paper to be presented at next week's Usenix show, Warren Toomey of the Bond School of IT is expected to detail restoration work being done on four key Unix software artifacts all from the early 1970s — Nsys, 1st edition Unix kernel, 1st and 2nd edition binaries and early C compilers. In his paper, Toomey states that while the history of Unix has been well-documented, there was a time when the actual artifacts of early Unix development were in danger of being lost forever."

Forgotten Ulcer Drug Energizes Stem Cells 37

Soychemist writes "When cancer patients get a heavy dose of chemotherapy and radiation, it can destroy their bone marrow. Umbilical cords contain stem cells that can regenerate the immune systems of young patients, but usually there are not enough of them to heal an adult. Len Zon, a doctor at Children's Hospital in Boston surmised that there must be a chemical that can make the cord blood stem cells divide, so that there will be enough of them to treat adult patients. He tested 2,500 chemicals on zebrafish embryos, and found one that does the trick. It was once on its way to becoming an ulcer medication, and now doctors are testing it on cord blood units that will be given to leukemia patients."

Pentagon Seeks a New Generation of Hackers 134

Hugh Pickens writes "Forbes reports on a new military-funded program aimed at leveraging an untapped resource: the population of geeky high school and college students in the US. The Cyber Challenge will create three new national competitions for high school and college students intended to foster a young generation of cybersecurity researchers. 'The contests will test skills applicable to both government and private industry: attacking and defending digital targets, stealing data, and tracing how others have stolen it. [...] The Department of Defense's Cyber Crime Center will expand its Digital Forensics Challenge, a program it has run since 2006, to include high school and college participants, tasking them with problems like tracing digital intrusions and reconstructing incomplete data sources. In the most controversial move, the SANS Institute, an independent organization, plans to organize the Network Attack Competition, which challenges students to find and exploit vulnerabilities in software, compromise enemy systems and steal data. Talented entrants may be recruited for cyber training camps planned for summer 2010, nonprofit camps run by the military and funded in part by private companies, or internships at agencies including the National Security Agency, the Department of Energy or Carnegie Mellon's Computer Emergency Response Team.'"

Google Tricycles To Map Footpaths For Street View 274

CNETNate writes "To advance its Street View service this summer, Google is poised to unleash the unstoppable power of human legs. Google will deploy pedal-powered tricycles — the company calls them 'Google Trikes' — mounted with 360 degree Street View cameras to map areas inaccessible by its fleet of Street View cars." The article indicates that the trikes will first see use in the UK, to map out public walking paths, but one anonymous commenter said: "This must be bogus — you are not allowed to cycle on public footpaths in the UK, I can't believe Google would have overlooked such a fundamental fact. Not to mention that the vehicle pictured wouldn't fit down most paths." PC World features the trikes in Rome.

Gene Transfer Immunizes Against Monkey HIV Analog 104

Al writes "Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have immunized monkeys against the simian immunodeficiency virus, the animal model that is closest to HIV. They did so by shuttling a gene into the monkeys' muscles, making the muscle cells produce antibody-like molecules that work against SIV. With both SIV and HIV, the chameleon-like mutability of the virus's surface changes so quickly that most antibodies made by the immune system are soon rendered ineffective. Philip Johnson and colleagues designed DNA sequences for two antibodies known to be effective against SIV. They used antibody-like molecules, called immunoadhesins, in which the functional part of an antibody is fused with a more stable section of another antibody. The same approach could be used to deliver antibodies that are effective against HIV, but which the body doesn't normally produce."

Daydreaming Is Really Complex Problem-Solving 138

beefsprocket writes "ScienceDaily reports that 'A new University of British Columbia study finds that our brains are much more active when we daydream than previously thought. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (abstract), finds that activity in numerous brain regions increases when our minds wander. It also finds that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving — previously thought to go dormant when we daydream — are in fact highly active during these episodes. "Mind wandering is typically associated with negative things like laziness or inattentiveness," says lead author, Prof. Kalina Christoff, UBC Dept. of Psychology. "But this study shows our brains are very active when we daydream — much more active than when we focus on routine tasks."'"

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid