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Government

+ - Linus Chats with the Kazakhstan President->

Submitted by
zhennian
zhennian writes "Okay, this is a little left field, but I did a search and couldn't find the story elsewhere. I'm currently in Kazakhstan, Almaty (old capital) for three months (accompanying my wife on her PhD research). While trolling the un-sub-domained .kz webspace, I came across a free-for-all on-line question and answer session hosted by the Kazakh President. President Nazarbaev, while in the same region as some #1 nutters, is a shrewd, well respected leader struggling to cope with a cut and run by the crumbling Russian regime in 1991, and a population inexperienced in dealing with billions of dollars in oil income. The interesting bit is that I found a question posted by Linus Torvalds asking the president's opinion on open source software. His answer was the evasive but valid response that all types of software should compete in the open market. A question springs to mind, "does Linus spend his time trolling 1-2.5 world countries searching for web forums hosted by leaders attempting to appear internet-savy?".
If the answer is yes, then my respect for the illustrious prince (RMS the father course) of OS freedom has significantly increased, he has time to keep the kernel alive and run global PR as well. The website seems to be only available at the google cache and no longer accessible from e.gov.kz. I think the forum was held in 2006, but it isn't clear from the website. Kazakhstan is certainly an exercise in weirdness, mixing the left-overs of soviet suppression with a widening poverty gap and ridiculous wealth in the hands of a few. The result is pollution, poverty and crumbling infrastructure next to the construction of an arboretum to hold 'all the trees in the world', a temple for 'all the worlds religions' and the construction of numerous other grandiose buildings in the middle of the Steppe. Obligatory Travel Blog here."

Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - Researchers blast Vista Service Pack 1

Submitted by Stony Stevenson
Stony Stevenson (954022) writes "A group of researchers has described Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista Service Pack 1 as a "performance dud". Researchers from the EXO Performance Network claimed that a series of in-house benchmark tests showed that users hoping to receive a speed boost from the update will be disappointed. "After extensive testing of Release To Manufacture and SP1-patched versions of Vista it seems clear that the hoped-for performance fixes that Microsoft has been hinting at have not materialised," the group said."
Government

+ - Japan Immigration directed to forcibly take prints->

Submitted by CB-in-Tokyo
CB-in-Tokyo (692617) writes "In reaction to the protests caused by Japan's new fingerprinting system, the Ministry of Justice has issued a directive (English Translation) that all foreigners that do not agree to give their fingerprints be incarcerated and "pursuaded" to give their prints, immediately to be followed by deportation. Immigration officials state that during the period of incarceration, "We will sufficiently persuade the refuser to cooperate, and endeavor not to do this by force."

The new fingerprinting and photographing system is under a lot of fire by the foreign community in Japan as it targets not only tourists, but also permanent residents. The system is being presented outwardly as a way to counter terrorism, but is being touted internally by celebrity spokespeople as a way to cut down on foreign crime in Japan. It is illegal under Japanese law to fingerprint citizens, unless they have been accused of a crime, however foreign residents have no such protection, and now under the new directive foreigners who refuse will no longer not just be refused entry, but also coerced into providing personal biometric data."

Link to Original Source
Security

+ - dealing with online merchants who don't use SSL?

Submitted by Unprotected Coward
Unprotected Coward (666) writes "I was just about to make an online purchase for a hardware product when I discovered the vendor (a self-titled "leading" seller for the US university market) does not even use SSL to encrypt the credit card form data (yes, I checked the HTML source, the form POST is to a non https URL). I am angry and frustrated that in 2007 this still happens with big stores (and I don't even want to imagine what application-level vulnerabilities they may have).

Besides writing them, should I call Visa or Mastercard? I thought it was mandatory for online merchants to use SSL and other basic security measures. Is it all hopeless?"
Programming

+ - gcc says -10==10-> 6

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A bug in gcc causes it to think -10*abs(x) and 10*abs(x) have the same value. Just compile the following small program:

int main( void )
{
    int i=2;
    if( -10*abs (i-1) == 10*abs(i-1) )
        printf ("OMG,-10==10 in linux!\n");
    else
        printf ("nothing special here\n") ;
    return 0 ;
}"

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - MIT's SAT Math Error

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that for years now, MIT wasn't properly calculating the average freshmen SAT scores (reg.) used to determine U.S. News & World Report's influential annual rankings. In response to an inquiry made by The Tech regarding the school's recent drop in the rankings, MIT revealed that in past years it had excluded the test scores of foreign students as well as those who fared better on the ACT than the SAT, both violations of the U.S. News rules. MIT's reported first-quartile SAT verbal and math scores for the 2006 incoming class totaled 1380, a drop of 50 points from 2005."
GNU is Not Unix

+ - Richard Stallman, missing in Peru

Submitted by rockwood
rockwood (141675) writes "WikiNews is reporting that according to e-mails and forum posts obtained by Wikinews, Stallman was traveling from Lima to Chimbote with a man named Mario Ramos on August 15, when the quake struck and was expected to arrive in Chimbote on Monday August 20, but he has not been heard from since the disaster."
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft announces CLR will be cross-platform

Submitted by
axlrosen
axlrosen writes "The biggest Mix '07 announcement made on opening day of this week's show was one that Microsoft didn't call out in any of its own press releases: Microsoft is making a version of its Common Language Runtime (CLR) available cross-platform. The CLR is the heart of Microsoft's .Net Framework programming model. So, by association, the .Net Framework isn't just for Windows any more.

More here."
Linux Business

+ - Dell will pre-install Ubuntu Linux

Submitted by
atamyrat
atamyrat writes "http://www.fabianrodriguez.com/blog/archives/2007/ 04/30/its-d-day/ It's now official. That's it, the embargo is over. We can talk. Many people have been involved in this and I can only say I am excited to be a tiny small part of it: Ubuntu will be officially supported on Dell computers. Any other details will come on www.ubuntu.com, check it for the official press release, but we can now all put the matter to rest and go about our normal lives — or can we ? :) This from your humble servant at Canonical Global Support Services. http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8661763902.html http://www.boingboing.net/2007/04/30/dell_will_pre install.html"
Supercomputing

+ - Mouse brain simulated on computer

Submitted by
atamyrat
atamyrat writes "BBC has an article about mouse brain simulated on a Blue Gene L supercomputer. Quote: "The team, from the IBM Almaden Research Lab and the University of Nevada, ran the simulation on a BlueGene L supercomputer that had 4096 processors, each one of which used 256MB of memory. Using this machine the researchers created half a virtual mouse brain that had 8,000 neurons that had up to 6,300 synapses. The vast complexity of the simulation meant that it was only run for ten seconds at a speed ten times slower than real life — the equivalent of one second in a real mouse brain."
Article refers to this research report[PDF] titled "Towards Real-Time, Mouse-Scale Cortical Simulations""
Caldera

SCO Given NASDAQ Delisting Notice 116

Posted by Zonk
from the vultures-are-circling dept.
SCO Delenda Est writes "The SEC has given SCO notice that they will be delisted from the NASDAQ if they cannot keep their share price above $1 sometime in the next 180 days. Although they may be able to avoid delisting for a while, their small market capitalization will hinder their efforts. Given their other financials, this just goes to show how desperate their current financial situation is."
Businesses

+ - Citibank breaking support for alternate browsers

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "Recently went to do some online banking with Citibank at www.citicards.com and found they had so badly altered their website that it was unusable in both Moz 1.6 and in Firefox 1.5. Called their 1-800 tech support and was informed they don't support anything but IE so no help there. I was completely stonewalled by the customer support rep. I simply had to inform them that only fools use IE and that their changes had made it impossible for me to continue doing any business with them. We're done using Citi which has become more aggressive with their terms, fees and interest rates. Website FUBAR's that make it harder to do business with them are the last straw. Anyone else have issues with Citibank and their online site?"
Enlightenment

+ - You don't have to be smart to be rich

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to make a lot of money, according to a nationwide study that found people of below average intelligence were, overall, just about as wealthy as those in similar circumstances but with higher scores on an IQ test. Furthermore, a number of extremely intelligent people stated they had gotten themselves into financial difficulty. The one financial indicator in which the study found it paid to be smart was income. Those with higher IQ scores tended to get paid more than others. "People don't become rich just because they are smart," said Jay Zagorsky, author of the study and a research scientist at Ohio State University 's Center for Human Resource Research in a statement. "Your IQ has really no relationship to your wealth. And being very smart does not protect you from getting into financial difficulty." http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/1451 0"

The absent ones are always at fault.

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