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Submission + - Gene Roddenberry's Diskettes Recovered

Press2ToContinue writes: When Gene Roddenberry's computer died, it took with it the only method of accessing some 200 floppy disks of his unpublished work. To make matters worse, about 30 of the disks were damaged, with deep gouges in the magnetic surface. So what was actually on the disks? Lost episodes of Star Trek? The secret script for a new show? Or as Popular Science once speculated, a patent for a transporter?

Unfortunately, we still don't know.

Submission + - Anatomy of a Phone Fraud Scam

Trailrunner7 writes: When Nargess Sadjady answered the phone at her home in London one early evening in August, the man on the other end gave her some disquieting news: There were some suspicious online purchases on her account. The caller spoke with a soft Scottish accent and said he was from the security team at her bank, Santander, and needed to verify some of her information in order to pass the case along to the fraud department.

It’s the kind of call that consumers get fairly often in the age of data breaches. The only problem was, the call came not from Sadjady’s bank, but from a fraudster who, over the course of several hours and three phone calls, convinced her to transfer £12,000 (more than $18,000) from her Santander account to an account controlled by the fraudsters. Within hours, the money was disbursed to several other accounts and Sadjady was left wondering what had happened.

The crew that went after Sadjady knew what they were doing. They knew what bank she used and when Sadjady eventually became suspicious during the initial call, the caller—who said his name was Mike—asked her to take out her debit card and look at the phone number on the back for the fraud department. He then recited that number to Sadjady and said that someone from the fraud department would call her back soon from that number.

“I don’t know you. I can’t give you any more information,” Sadjady said, according to a recording of the call obtained by BBC Radio’s Money Box program.

Not to worry, Mike said. He didn’t want personal details. He just wanted to confirm that she had her card. He then gives her a “password” that she can use to verify that the person who calls her back is from Santander. The password is Smith123, which makes the passwords in the Ashley Madison dump look bulletproof. A few hours later, a man identifying himself as James called Sadjady and said he was from the Santander fraud operations team and then read the password back to her. The callers used spoofing software to ensure that the number appearing on Sadjady’s caller ID was the one she’d read off the back of her bank card.

Submission + - What You Didn't Know About Scientology 1

An anonymous reader writes: There has been a revival of interest in Scientology recently, largely driven by the ministrations of Hollywood jackanapes Tom Cruise.

An episode of South Park titled ‘Trapped in the Closet’ aired in late 2005. The cartoon featured Scientologists Nicole Kidman and John Travolta trying to coax Cruise out of a closet, a reference to rumors concerning his sexual preference. Also featured was an L. Ron Hubbard character denigrating Cruise’s acting ability. The extremely litigious Cruise immediately threatened Paramount with legal action, and it is unlikely that the episode will air again.

It is perhaps timely to revue some of the history of the ‘church,’ its membership and especially its mercurial founder Lafayette Ronald Hubbard.

Submission + - 'Most hated man in America' Martin Shkreli arrested on suspicion of fraud (

Ewan Palmer writes: Pharmaceutical start-up owner Martin Shkreli, dubbed the most hated man in the US over his controversial plans to significantly raise the price of life-saving drugs, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Shkreli, 32, who received widespread criticism for hiking up the price of Daraprim from $13 to $750 per pill in September, is being questioned over allegations involving stock from a company he founded in 2011.

According to Bloomberg, Shkreli is accused of illegally taking stock from biotechnology Retrophin Inc to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What's Your Favorite PS4 Games?

An anonymous reader writes: I decided to get my kids (ranging in age from 13-21) a PS4 for Christmas. What's some good games to get for them and me? I haven't had a Playstation for about 10 years, so I've been out of the gameplaying loop for awhile. Some of my favorite PS1&2 games were CTR and Gran Turismo, my kids favorites were Naruto, Kingdom Hearts, etc. I've already ordered...
F1 2015 (Formula One)
Fallout 4
Snoopy's Grand Adventure
Star Wars: Battlefront — Standard Edition
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 — Standard Edition
Until Dawn
and Preordered...
Dead Island 2
Final Fantasy XV
Kingdom Hearts III
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Ratchet & Clank

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Buy or Build a high end gaming PC? 2

An anonymous reader writes: Looking at some Black Friday ads, I'm seeing some good deals on Alienware and other gaming rigs that would be cheaper than building them from scratch. If you built or were to build a high end gaming rig, what would you suggest? Or would you just get a prebuilt system and customize it to your needs? I'm not looking for cheap, I want best quality and performance, but not overkill that would rival supercomputers and at the same time break my bank account. It would be a Windows system to keep my family happy, but possibly dual boot with Linux to keep me happy. It will be located in the livingroom hooked up to a regular monitor and the big screen TV, replacing a budget PC that's in there now.

Submission + - Pirate needs 200,000 video views to avoid being sued (

An anonymous reader writes: A convicted software pirate has been handed an unusual punishment.
The man, named only as Jakub F, will be spared having to pay hefty damages — as long as a film denouncing piracy he was made to produce gets 200,000 views.
He came to the out-of-court settlement with a host of firms whose software he pirated after being convicted by a Czech court. In return, they agreed not to sue him.
The 30-year-old was also given a three-year suspended sentence.
The criminal court decided that any financial penalty would have to be decided either in civil proceedings or out of court.
The firms, which included Microsoft, HBO Europe, Sony Music and Twentieth Century Fox, estimated that the financial damage amounted to 5.7m Czech Crowns (£148,000). But the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which represented Microsoft, acknowledged that Jakub could not pay that sum.
Instead, the companies said they would be happy to receive only a small payment and his co-operation in the production of the video.
In order for the firms' promise not to sue to be valid, they said, the video would have to be viewed at least 200,000 times within two months of its publication this week. A spokesman for the BSA told the BBC that the stipulation was to ensure that Jakub would help share it as widely as possible.
But, if the video did not reach the target, the spokesman said that — "in theory" — the firms would have grounds to bring a civil case for damages.
The YouTube film, currently at 145k views...

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Which is better... Xbox or PlayStation 4? 4

An anonymous reader writes: I'm looking at getting a new gaming console for the kids Christmas this year. I'm stuck between getting an Xbox or a PlayStation 4. I'm really wary on the PlayStation because of the 5 PS2s with broken optical drives sitting in my garage, none lasted more than 2 years. On the other hand I'm also wary of buying a Microsoft product, I'm a Linux user for life after getting tired of their crappy operating system. I've also considered getting a gaming PC, whether Linux or Windows, but it's more expensive and game reviews show most are not as good as a dedicated game console. The kids want Fallout 4, I want Star Wars Battlefront and any version of Gran Turismo. We currently have a Nintendo WII and a crappy gaming PC with some Steam games. So, which gaming console should I get that will last a long time?

Submission + - National Security Experts Say Paris Could Not Happen in US 1 writes: National Security experts Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin write in the NYT that in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, most Americans probably feel despair, and a presentiment that it is only a matter of time before something similar happens here. "But such anxiety is unwarranted. In fact, it’s a mistake to assume that America’s security from terrorism at home is comparable to Europe’s. For many reasons, the United States is a significantly safer place. While vigilance remains essential, no one should panic." According to Simon and Benjamin the slaughter in France depended on four things: easy access to Paris, European citizens happy to massacre their compatriots, a Euro-jihadist infrastructure to supply weapons and security agencies that lacked resources to monitor the individuals involved — problems the United States does not have — at least not nearly to the degree that Europe does, undermining its ability to defend itself.

For example, Europe’s external border controls allow for free border-crossing inside most of the European Union, making it life simple for criminals. But the United States doesn’t have this problem. Pretty much anyone coming to the United States from Middle Eastern war zones or the radical underground of Europe would need to come by plane, and, since 9/11, we have made it tough for such people to fly to the United States. Also America’s two immediate neighbors, Mexico and Canada, have extremely cooperative security authorities, which prevents would-be terrorists from slipping across our land borders.

The United States has another advantage: an intelligence, law enforcement and border-control apparatus that has been vastly improved since the cataclysm of 9/11. Post-9/11 visa requirements and no-fly lists weed out most bad actors, and both the Bush and Obama administrations demanded that countries in our visa waiver program provide data on extremists through information-sharing pacts called HSPD-6 agreements. "None of this should lead American authorities, or the American people, to settle into a false sense of security," conclude Simon and Benjamin adding that "what the Paris attacks show is that the world needs America’s intelligence and security resources even more than its military might."

Submission + - Spaghetti Strainer Helmet Driver's License Photo Approved On Religious Grounds (

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Just over the border from New Hampshire in the Massachusetts city of Lowell, a woman identifying herself as a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), otherwise known as Pastafarianism, has been approved by the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to wear a spaghetti strainer on top of her head in her state issued driver’s ID.

The approval to wear the helmet was initially denied. However, citing religious grounds, Lowell resident Lindsay Miller filed an appeal. Following intervention by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the RMV reversed their decision and allowed her to put on her colander and get her driver’s license picture taken.

According to the church’s website, while there are those who perceive the religion to be satirical in nature, it “doesn’t change the fact that by any standard one can come up with” the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is “as legitimate as any other” religion.

. . . now what about my tinfoil hat . . . ?

Submission + - Pastafarian wins fight to wear colander in driver's license photo (

schwit1 writes: Some states ban smiling in driver’s license photos, but wearing a colander on one’s head is apparently allowed.

A Massachusetts woman this week won the right to wear a colander on her head in her driver’s license photo after citing religious reasons. Lindsay Miller identifies as a “Pastafarian” and member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which some critics call a parody religion.

She tried to wear the kitchen utensil in her driver’s license photo this year but the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles denied her request. However, after intervention by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center the RMV recently reversed its stance.

Submission + - Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

merbs writes: A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport's "prehistoric" operating system. The computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor. DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992.

Submission + - The European Commission is preparing a frontal attack on the hyperlink (

An anonymous reader writes: Julia Reda, a member of the European parliament, is sounding the alarm on new copyright legislation under development. She says the European Commission is considering copyright protection for hyperlinking. Reda says, "This idea flies in the face of both existing interpretation and spirit of the law as well as common sense. Each weblink would become a legal landmine and would allow press publishers to hold every single actor on the Internet liable." Under this scheme, simply linking to copyrighted material would be legally considered "providing access," and thus require explicit permission of the rightsholder. Reda warns that it could lead to legal expenses for anyone who shares links (read: everybody), and ultimately the fragmentation of the internet.

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