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Submission + - Knocking down the Great Firewall of China (

Nocturrne writes: The FOSS project Lantern ( is having great success in unblocking the internet for many users in oppressive regimes, like China and Iran. Much like Tor and bitorrent, Lantern is using peer-to-peer networking to overcome firewalls, but with the additional security of a trusted network of friends. The network of peers is growing, but we need more friends in uncensored countries to join us.

Submission + - Big win for Open Government and Transparency in Mississippi (

Chris Elkins writes: Text messages are now officially considered public records. An investigative reporter fought for access to what he believed were public records. He took his fight to the state and won. Mississippi open government and transparency advocates view this unanimous commission opinion as precedent-setting for all government bodies and public officials in the state.

Submission + - Attackers Use Reflection Techniques For Larger DDoS Attacks

An anonymous reader writes: Akamai announced a new global DDoS attack report, which shows that in Q1, DDoS attackers relied less upon traditional botnet infection in favor of reflection and amplification techniques. Instead of using a network of zombie computers, the newer DDoS toolkits abuse Internet protocols that are available on open or vulnerable servers and devices. Innovation in the DDoS marketplace has given rise to tools that can create greater damage with fewer resources. Q1's high-volume, infrastructure-based attacks were made possible by the availability of easy-to-use DDoS tools from the DDoS-as-a-service marketplace. These tools are designed by malicious hackers to deliver greater power and convenience into the hands of less skillful attackers.

Submission + - Astronomers Solve Puzzle of the Mountains That Fell From Space 1

KentuckyFC writes: Iapetus, Saturn’s third largest moon, was first photographed by the Cassini spacecraft on 31 December 2004. The images created something of a stir. Clearly visible was a narrow, steep ridge of mountains that stretch almost halfway around the moon’s equator. The question that has since puzzled astronomers is how this mountain range got there. Now evidence is mounting that this mountain range is not the result of tectonic or volcanic activity, like mountain ranges on other planets. Instead, astronomers are increasingly convinced that this mountain range fell from space. The latest evidence is a study of the shape of the mountains using 3-D images generated from Cassini data. They show that the angle of the mountainsides is close to the angle of repose, that’s the greatest angle that a granular material can form before it landslides. That’s not proof but it certainly consistent with this exotic formation theory. So how might this have happened? Astronomers think that early in its life, Iapetus must have been hit by another moon, sending huge volumes of ejecta into orbit. Some of this condensed into a new moon that escaped into space. However, the rest formed an unstable ring that gradually spiralled in towards the moon, eventually depositing the material in a narrow ridge around the equator. Cassini’s next encounter with Iapetus will be in 2015 which should give astronomers another chance to study the strangest mountain range in the Solar System.

Submission + - Bullied Student Records Bullies, Gets Hit With Felony Charges For Violation (

An anonymous reader writes: Here comes another story highlighting the danger of schools "outsourcing" their disciplinary problems to law enforcement. As we've stated before, this does nothing more than turn routine misconduct into criminal behavior, which is a great way to derail a student's future.

A Pennsylvania teen, who claimed to have been bullied constantly (and ignored by school administration), made an audio recording of his tormentors using a school-supplied iPad. He brought this to the school's attention, which duly responded by calling the cops to have him arrested for violating Pennsylvania's wiretapping law. (h/t to Techdirt reader btr1701)

Maybe the future holds better outcomes, but for right now, everyone involved had a chance to stop this from reaching this illogical conclusion, but no one — from the administrators to their legal team to local law enforcement to the presiding judge — was interested in reining this in. In the end, it looks as though an innate desire to punish someone was satisfied every step of the way.

Submission + - Mass Surveillance Disruption Network ( 3

mikel.heyden writes: I"m sure your organization gets inundated with requests. We're however working to develop an application to disrupt mass surveillance. We're just looking for any exposure you may be able to provide.

I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the project.

The goal is to disrupt mass surveillance by creating enormous amounts of data. Data will be disguised to be indecipherable from actual conversations. Disruption will occur over all primary forms of communication: Email, Phone calls, Text Messaging, and Web Browsing

Submission + - Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity (

An anonymous reader writes: Video gaming is a highly pervasive activity, providing a multitude of complex cognitive and motor demands. Gaming can be seen as an intense training of several skills. Associated cerebral structural plasticity induced has not been investigated so far. Comparing a control with a video gaming training group that was trained for 2 months for at least 30âmin per day with a platformer game, we found significant gray matter (GM) increase in right hippocampal formation (HC), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and bilateral cerebellum in the training group.

Submission + - School Budget Cuts? Google Suggests Virtual Field Trips

theodp writes: For schools experiencing tax-revenue shortfalls, Google has a suggestion. "Across the country," a video introducing Google+ Virtual Field Trips begins, "budget cuts are making it difficult for students to explore the world outside their classrooms. If students can't go on field trips, why don't we bring field trips to them?" Virtual field trips through its Connected Classrooms Program, Google explains, connect cultural institutions like museums, zoos and aquariums with schools regardless of financial restrictions ("most field trips cost money," Google notes). So, is the let-them-eat-Google-Plus-Hangout-cake program more awesome or sad?

Submission + - New FCC chairman presses carriers to unlock cell phones (

tad001 writes: The FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler sent a letter to the CTIA urging carriers to unlock handsets once customer contracts are fulfilled. Unlocking cell phones became illegal earlier this year when the Library of Congress opted not to renew an exemption in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, an exemption it granted in 2006 and 2010.

Submission + - Smithsonian Releasing 3D Models of Artifacts

plover writes: The Seattle Times reports "the Smithsonian Institution is launching a new 3D scanning and printing initiative to make more of its massive collection accessible to schools, researchers and the public worldwide. A small team has begun creating 3D models of some key objects representing the breadth of the collection at the world's largest museum complex. Some of the first 3D scans include the Wright brothers' first airplane, Amelia Earhart's flight suit, casts of President Abraham Lincoln's face during the Civil War and a Revolutionary War gunboat. Less familiar objects include a former slave's horn, a missionary's gun from the 1800s and a woolly mammoth fossil from the Ice Age. They are pieces of history some people may hear about but rarely see or touch."

So far they have posted 20 models on the site, with the promise of much more to come.

Submission + - GoDaddy Pulls Lavabit's Security Creds Because The FBI Got Ahold Of Its Encrypti (

An anonymous reader writes: The FBI complained. Levison got hit with a $5,000/day contempt of court charge, and handed over the keys in digital form two days later after being charged $10,000. He also shuttered his site, making the keys useless for future communication interception. Today, the Lavabit site is still up, simply to solicit funds for Lavabit's legal defense. Levison says he's received over $200,000, but has already spent $100,000 of it; Lavabit is currently appealing the contempt charge and arguing that asking a site to turn over its encryption keys — imperiling the security of its business — is unconstitutional. But if you try to access the secure version of Lavabit's site — — you'll find that it's down. "Peer's Certificate has been revoked," says the error message.

That's thanks to GoDaddy — Lavabit's domain name provider — which apparently saw the news coverage about Levison handing his encryption keys over to the FBI.

"We're compelled by industry policies to revoke certs when we become aware that the private key has been communicated to a 3rd-party and thus could be used by that party to intercept and decrypt communications,â says GoDaddy spokesperson Elizabeth L. Driscoll, in response to an inquiry about Lavabit's keys being revoked.

Submission + - Google Offers Cash for Updates to Linux and Other FOSS (

jrepin writes: Google is offering rewards as high as $3,133.70 for software updates that improve the security of OpenSSL, OpenSSH, BIND, and several other open-source packages that are critical to the stability of the Internet. The program announced Wednesday expands on Google's current bug-bounty program, which pays from $500 to $3,133.70 to people who privately report bugs found in the company's software and Web properties.

Submission + - If Java Is Dying, It Sure Looks Awfully Healthy

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Andrew Binstock writes at Dr. Dobb's that a recurring prejudice in the forums where the cool kids hang out is against Java, often described as verbose and fading in popularity but Binstock sees little supporting evidence of Java being in some kind of long-term decline. While it is true that Java certainly can be verbose, several scripting languages have sprung up which are purpose-designed to spare developers from long syntactical passages to communicate a simple action including NetRexx, Groovy, and Scala. As far as Java's popularity goes, normally, when technologies start their ultimate decline, tradeshows are the first to reflect the disintegrating community. But the recent JavaOne show was clearly larger and better attended than it has been in either of the last two years and vendors on the exhibiting floor were unanimous in saying that traffic, leads, and inquiries were up significantly over last year. Technically, the language continues to advance says Binstock. Java 8, expected in March, will add closures (that is, lambda expressions) that will reduce code, diminish the need for anonymous inner classes, and facilitate functional-like coding. Greater modularity which will be complete in Java 9 (due in 2016) will help efficient management of artifacts, as will several enhancements that simplify syntax in that release. "When you add in the Android ecosystem, whose native development language is Java, it becomes very difficult to see how a language so widely used in so many areas — server, Web, desktop, mobile devices — is in some kind of decline," concludes Binstock. "What I'm seeing is a language that is under constant refinement and development, with a large and very active community, which enjoys a platform that is widely used for new languages. None of this looks to me like a language in decline."

Submission + - SF Commuters Stared at Phones, Oblivious to Murderer 3

theodp writes: A security camera shows a man raised a .45-caliber pistol several times and pointed it across the aisle on a crowded San Francisco Muni train, but not one of the dozens of passengers looked up from their phones and tablets until the man fired a bullet into the back of a SF State student getting off the train. "These weren't concealed movements," said District Attorney George Gascón, "the gun is very clear. These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this. They're just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They're completely oblivious of their surroundings."

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.