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+ - Lavabit Founder Explains Why He Was Forced To Shut It Down->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Ladar Levison, founder of the encrypted email service Lavabit that shut down last year because of friction with U.S. government data requests, has an article at The Guardian where he explains the whole story. He writes, 'My legal saga started last summer with a knock at the door, behind which stood two federal agents ready to to serve me with a court order requiring the installation of surveillance equipment on my company's network. ... I had no choice but to consent to the installation of their device, which would hand the U.S. government access to all of the messages – to and from all of my customers – as they travelled between their email accounts other providers on the Internet. But that wasn't enough. The federal agents then claimed that their court order required me to surrender my company's private encryption keys, and I balked. What they said they needed were customer passwords – which were sent securely – so that they could access the plain-text versions of messages from customers using my company's encrypted storage feature. (The government would later claim they only made this demand because of my "noncompliance".) ... What ensued was a flurry of legal proceedings that would last 38 days, ending not only my startup but also destroying, bit by bit, the very principle upon which I founded it – that we all have a right to personal privacy.'"
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+ - ASCII code turns 50->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Let’s go back to year 1961 AD. It was a time when every computer model had its own unique character encoding system. There were about 60 different systems in use of which 9 where invented at IBM. It was therefore not that much surprising that finally a committee gathered which after a whopping two (say two) years of debates assigned 100 characters to a seven bit numbers. Long time for a numbering of a few letters, but every hardware manufacturer wrangled about the position of the smallest comma to make sure they don’t need to modify their devices too much. So, in 1963 the ASCII was born."
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+ - Bicycles indirectly cause more CO2 emissions by slowing traffic. 2

Submitted by lxrocks
lxrocks (1205598) writes "In a report by the European Cycling Federation, they show Bicycle CO2 emissions to be around 16g CO2/Km. The report however fails to recognise that in some countries, Bicycles cause traffic slow down. For example in hilly, Sydney, Australia cyclists can be found slowing traffic during peak traffic hours by consuming a whole traffic lane to themselves. Drivers will often experience a delay of at least 1 minute trying to navigate past the cyclist into another lane.

If the average passenger vehicle produces around 6g CO2/minute when just idling — if 100 cars are delayed 1 minute by the cyclist, the additional, indirect CO2 production adds 600g of CO2 to their 16g CO2/KM.

In some countries, cycling may be causing excessive CO2 emissions rather than reducing them."

+ - Seattle May Have to Wait a Few Bits Longer for Fast, Cheap Internet

Submitted by Kyle Jacoby
Kyle Jacoby (2973265) writes "In 2010, after Google Fiber's success in Kansas City, Google looked for another city to test its infrastructure. Seattle jumped at the opportunity to woo the internet giant, hoping to fuel the growing needs of its increasingly tech-centric city, but lost the bid to Austin in the end. Impatient, Seattle partnered with Gigabit Squared to deliver gigabit service using some of the city's own unused fiber. Originally slated to begin service in Fall of 2013, the project was delayed until "first quarter 2014," but there still appears to be no signs of life. Recent probing by GeekWire suggests that the project has stalled again and, in fact, may never have been moving to begin with. "When you dug into [it]... there wasn’t any money there, and there wasn’t any clear path to the money other than this general notion that if you got enough people moving in the same direction, money would show up." The Gigabit Squared toll-free phone number was even removed from their site after being disabled, and the project's prime proponent, Mayor McGinn, admits that he's "very concerned it’s not going to work." Without this project, and without motivation from the new mayor-elect, there may be no competition for the Comcast monopoly, whose current minimum price for internet-only is $49.95/mo ($64.95/mo for speeds over 6 mbps). This sharply contrasts Gigabit Seattle's announced plans for $10/mo for 5 mbps, $45 for 100 mbps, and $80 for true gigabit."

+ - What's The World's Second Biggest Tourist Attraction? Chairman Mao's Birthplace ->

Submitted by cold fjord
cold fjord (826450) writes "Only Disneyland is a bigger draw. The Telegraph reports, "The cult of Mao continues to resonate strongly in China. His three decades in power have never been open to critical assessment because the Communist party still depends on Mao for its legitimacy. Indeed, the current government has cloaked itself even more heavily in Maoist rhetoric even as it continues to liberalise the economy. As a result, many of the pilgrims to Shaoshan still regard Mao with worrying devotion. "Mao is a god in the East," said ... a 23-year-old nurse ... "My grandmother was here in Shaoshan for the 100th anniversary, when they installed the giant bronze statue in the main square. It was winter, but she said the flowers along the road bloomed as the statue was driven by." Even those old enough to remember the bad old days find it perfectly possible to continue to worship Mao, whose policies led directly to the death of tens of millions of Chinese. "" — More at Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, South China Morning Post,"
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+ - First 3D Printed Liver Expected in 2014->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "After 3D printing has produced ears, skin grafts and even retina cells that could be built up and eventually used to replace defective eye tissue, researchers expect to be able to produce the first functioning organ next year. The organ, a liver, would not be for the purpose of human implant — that will take years to complete clinical trials and pass FDA review. Instead, the liver would initially be for development and testing of pharmaceuticals. The field of 3D printing known as organs on a chip, will greatly increase the accuracy and speed of drug development and testing, researchers say. The company producing the liver, Organovo, has overcome a major stumbling block that faces the creation of any organ: printing the vascular system needed to provide it with life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients. Typically, 3D printed tissue dies in the petri dish before it can even be used because of that. "We have achieved thicknesses of greater than 500 microns, and have maintained liver tissue in a fully functional state with native phenotypic behavior for at least 40 days," said Mike Renard, Organovo's executive vice president of commercial operations."
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+ - Utilities fight back against solar energy-> 1

Submitted by JoeyRox
JoeyRox (2711699) writes "The exponential growth of rooftop solar adoption has utilities concerned about their financial future. Efficiency gains and cost reductions has brought the price of solar energy to within parity of traditional power generation in states like California and Hawaii. HECO, an electric utility in Hawaii, has started notifying new solar adopters that they will not be allowed to connect to the utility's power grid, citing safety concerns of electric circuits becoming oversaturated from the rapid adoption of soloar power on the island. Residents claim it's not about safety but about the utility fighting to protect its profits."
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+ - Millions of Dogecoin stolen over Christmas

Submitted by Kenseilon
Kenseilon (3462441) writes "The Verge reports(http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/26/5244604/millions-of-dogecoin-stolen-in-christmas-hack) that millions of Dogecoins — an alternative cryptocurrency — was stolen after the service DogeWallet was hacked. DogeWallet worked like a bank account for the currency, and the attackers modified it to make sure all transactions ended up in a wallet of their choice. This latest incident is just one in the long (and growing) list of problems that cryptocurrencies are currently facing. It brings to mind the incident where bitcoin exchange service GBL vanished and took a modest amount of Bitcoins with them (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/11/12/1553216/chinese-bitcoin-exchange-vanishes-taking-25m-of-coins-with-it). While not a similar case, it highlights the difficulties with trusting service provides in this market."

+ - What can the NSA learn from your phone metadata? There's an app for that.

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Last month researchers at Stanford kicked off MetaPhone, a crowdsourced study of phone metadata. They've since reported that phone activity reveals private relationships, is densely interconnected at just two or three "hops", and can trivially be identified. But now you can see for yourself: an updated version of the Android app will show you how many users you're connected to, as well as the businesses you've been in touch with. It's downright spooky."

+ - Google's Duplicitous Stance on Loopholes, Spirit of Law 2

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "When it comes to tax loopholes, Google has certainly embraced the letter and not the spirit of the tax law. "Google plays by the rules set by politicians," quipped Google's UK head, defending the company's payment of a mere £6m in tax on sales of £2.6bn. "I view that you should pay the taxes that are legally required," added Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. "If the British system changes the tax laws then we will comply." So, one might ask whether Rap Genius was also playing by the letter of the rules, if not the spirit, when Google penalized Rap Genius for its link schemes. After all, don't they have the same fiduciary responsibility to investors that Google says motivates its tax strategy? Well, you could ask, but it wouldn't matter. In a case of what's-good-for-the-goose-is-not-good-for-the-gander, Google makes it clear that it won't countenance BS letter-of-the-law defenses from those who seek to exploit loopholes. From the Google Webmaster Guidelines, "These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here. It's not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn't included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit." So, in Lord Google's eyes, is exploiting loopholes good AND evil?"

+ - Houston Expands Downtown Surveilance, Unsure If It Helps->

Submitted by SpaceGhost
SpaceGhost (23971) writes "Associated Press reports that the Houston (Texas) Police will be adding 180 surveillance cameras in the downtown area, bring the total to close to 1000. While most cover public areas (stadiums, theater district) the police suggest that Houston also has more "critical infrastructure" (energy companies) than other cities. Interestingly AP points out that "Officials say data is not kept to determine if the cameras are driving down crime." Didn't London face the same issue?"
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+ - What would it cost to build a Windows version of the pricey new Mac Pro?->

Submitted by zacharye
zacharye (2330148) writes "The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and flexible computer Apple has ever created, and it’s also extremely expensive — or is it? With a price tag that can climb up around $10,000, Apple’s latest enterprise workhorse clearly isn’t cheap. For businesses with a need for all that muscle, however, is that steep price justifiable or is there a premium “Apple tax” that companies will have to pay? Shortly after the new Mac Pro was finally made available for purchase last week, one PC enthusiast set out to answer that question and in order to do so, he asked another one: How much would it cost to build a comparable Windows 8 machine?..."
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+ - Antarctic Climate Research Expedition Trapped in Sea Ice

Submitted by Stinky Cheese Man
Stinky Cheese Man (548499) writes "An antarctic climate research expedition, led by climate researcher Chris Turney of the University of New South Wales, has become trapped in heavy ice near the coast of Antarctica. The captain has issued a distress call and three nearby icebreaker ships are on their way to the rescue. According to Turney's web site (http://www.christurney.com/), the purpose of the expedition is "to discover and communicate the environmental changes taking place in the south". Read the fine article at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/25/antarctic-expedition-scientists-trapped-ice"

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