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Submission + - Ask the FCC to switch to sane software engineering practices for wifi! ( 2

mtaht writes: The CeroWrt project is collecting signatures for a letter to the FCC strongly suggesting they adopt saner software engineering practices for certifying wifi devices instead of pending regulations.

You can view the letter (signed by Dave Täht, Vint Cerf and many other notables) and add your signature,

Submission + - Politics Poisoning NASA's Ability To Meet Its Goals ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Phil Plait just published an article showing how politics is interfering with NASA's ability to perform vital scientific experiments. As expected when we heard that Ted Cruz would be made head of the committee in charge of NASA's funding, the Texas senator is pushing hard for NASA to stop studying Earth itself. Plait writes, "Over the years, NASA has had to beg and scrape to get the relatively small amount of money it gets—less than half a percent of the national budget—and still manages to do great things with it. Cruz is worried NASA’s focus needs to be more on space exploration. Fine. Then give them enough money to do everything in their charter: Explore space, send humans there, and study our planet. Whether you think climate change is real or not—and it is— telling NASA they should turn a blind eye to the environment of our own planet is insanity." He concludes, "[T]he politics of funding a government agency is tying NASA in knots and critically endangering its ability to explore."

Submission + - Microsoft's 'Delve' Will Tell You What Your Co-Workers Are Doing With Office (

jfruh writes: Users of one of Microsoft's business-class Office 365 plans will soon have access to Delve, a feature designed to analyze how people work on Office 365 and automatically make relevant data on colleagues and content easily accessible. For example, using calendar information, Delve can determine that a user has a meeting in four hours, what topics will be discussed and who will participate, so the application collects documents, files and information it deems relevant and displays the content in the dashboard. Will this herald a new era of assisted collaboration, or is this just Clippy in the cloud?

Submission + - Trans-Pacific Partnership Enables Harsh Penalties For Filesharing (

An anonymous reader writes: The EFF went through a recently leak of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, an international agreement in development that among other things would impose new intellectual property laws on much of the developed world. The EFF highlights one section in particular, which focuses on the punishments for copyright infringement. The document doesn't set specific sentences, but it actively encourages high monetary penalties and jail terms. Its authors reason that these penalties will be a deterrent to future infringement. "The TPP's copyright provisions even require countries to enable judges to unilaterally order the seizure, destruction, or forfeiture of anything that can be 'traceable to infringing activity,' has been used in the 'creation of pirated copyright goods,' or is 'documentary evidence relevant to the alleged offense.' Under such obligations, law enforcement could become ever more empowered to seize laptops, servers, or even domain names."

Submission + - David Carr dies after moderating event with Edward Snowden & Glenn Greenwald (

McGruber writes: David Carr, the New York Times media columnist who overcame numerous battles with addiction to become one of the nation’s most recognizable and respected journalists, died on Thursday after collapsing in the newsroom, the New York Times announced on Thursday evening. He was 58.

On Thursday evening, Carr moderated "Citizenfour — New York Times Talk at The New School" [] a panel conversation that included Edward Snowden, filmmaker Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald to discuss last year’s National Security Agency surveillance revelations. Afterward, he collapsed at his office around 9 p.m., NY Times spokesman Eileen Murphy said.

Submission + - Google to start highlighting accurate health facts in search results (

An anonymous reader writes: Google has announced that it will be displaying direct answers to health queries in related search results, adding further information to its Knowledge Graph. According to a post on its Official Blog, Google reported that one out of every 20 searches seeks medical and well-being information. The new feature is expected to launch this week through the Knowledge Graph which appears as information boxes and image cards at the top of the search screen. In this case, Google will directly serve up details on symptoms, treatments, and other related health facts such as how common an illness is and if it is contagious or critical. This addition is part of Google’s wider drive to provide its own answers to queries, instead of relying on links to other sites.

Submission + - Driving Force Behind Alkali Metal Explosions Discovered ( 1

Kunedog writes: Years ago, Dr. Philip E. Mason (aka Thunderf00t on Youtube) found it puzzling that the supposedly "well-understood" explosive reaction of a lump of sodium (an alkali metal) dropped in water could happen at all, given such a limited contact area on which the reaction could take place. And indeed, sometimes an explosion did fail to reliably occur, the lump of metal instead fizzing around the water's surface on a pocket of hydrogen produced by the (slower than explosive) reaction, thus inhibiting any faster reaction of the alkali metal with the water. Mason's best hypothesis was that the (sometimes) explosive reactions must be triggered by a Coulomb explosion, which could result when sodium cations (positive ions) are produced from the reaction and expel each other further into the water.

This theory is now supported by photographic and mathematical evidence, published in the journal Nature Chemistry. In a laboratory at Braunschweig University of Technology in Germany, Mason and other chemists used a high-speed camera to capture the critical moment that makes an explosion inevitable: a liquid drop of sodium-potassium alloy shooting spikes into the water, dramatically increasing the reactive interface. They also developed a computer simulation to model this event, showing it is best explained by a Coulomb explosion.

The Youtube video chronicles the evolution the experimental apparatuses underwent over time, pursuant to keeping the explosions safe, contained, reliable, and visible.

Submission + - The end of Public Domain 1

eporue writes: Since I uploaded the public domain movie The night of the living dead to YouTube I got 18 different complaints of copyright infrigment on it.
Actually, I have a channel of Public Domain movies in which monetization has been disabled "due to repeated community guidelines and/or copyright issues".
The problem is that 99% of the complaints are false, they are from companies that have no rights over the movies but by issuing millions of take downs, manage to control a good number of videos in YouTube.
Is there any way to fight back ? Is there a way to "probe" public domain ?

Submission + - When the argument between science and industry was over ozone (

Lasrick writes: Thanks to the world’s first global environmental treaty, the ozone hole over the Antarctic has stopped growing. Yet for about a decade after Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland published their 1974 journal article describing the chemical link between CFCs and stratospheric ozone, the fate of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was far from certain, right up to the moment when the Antarctic ozone hole was reported by Joseph Farman and his colleagues in 1985. The similarities to today's climate "debate" are depressing, as the pattern of acceptance, inaction, and the public trashing of scientists is the same: 'The vast majority of scientists who study the problem say that the weight of evidence shows that human activities are driving climate change. A few contrarians, businesses, and political and media pundits say otherwise. The majority of the public is confused by the conflicting messages and has low interest. The greenhouse gas producers, their lobbyists, and the governments that control their energy sectors are stalling, saying that the science is too unsettled and more proof is needed that humans are responsible. At the same time, corporations are examining new technologies and trying to find ways to achieve a competitive advantage and profits." All of this played out over 30 years ago, when ozone was the issue and human-created CFCs were the problem.

Submission + - NASA is testing an autonomous Martian helicopter (

SternisheFan writes: The Verge: Drones are everywhere these days. They're under Christmas trees. They're at the X-Games. They're even in Congress. And if NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has its way, they could be headed to Mars next in the form of the Mars Helicopter.

Rover teams still have a tough time with the Martian surface even though they're flush with terrestrial data. The alien surface is uneven, and ridges and valleys make navigating the terrain difficult. The newest solution proposed by JPL is the Mars Helicopter, an autonomous drone that could "triple the distances that Mars rovers can drive in a Martian day," according to NASA. The helicopter would fly ahead of a rover when its view is blocked and send Earth-bound engineers the right data to plan the rover's route.

Submission + - Illinois Is Not Actually Requiring Students To Hand Over Their Facebook Password (

oritoes writes: A story is circulating around the internet that a new Illinois anti-cyberbullying law has a provision requiring students to hand over their Facebook and other social media accounts to school officials on demand.

The ACLU and the state legislator who wrote the bill both say this is wrong.

Submission + - GCHQ intercepted emails from The New York Times, Reuters, BBC, and others (

An anonymous reader writes: GCHQ's bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK's largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency's intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

Submission + - Indiana Court Rules Melted Down Hard Drive Not Destruction of Evidence ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: An Indiana court has ruled that a hard drive that was sent to recycling was not destruction of evidence. The ruling stems from a BitTorrent file-sharing case filed by Malibu Media where a defendant claimed that his hard drive had failed thanks to heavy use. Malibu claimed that the act was destruction of evidence and filed a motion demanding a default judgement. The court denied this motion suggesting that because the hard drive failed, there was no evidence to destroy in the first place.

Submission + - Sony Hack Reveals MPAA's Big '$80 Million' Settlement With Hotfile Was A Lie (

An anonymous reader writes: For years, we've pointed out that the giant "settlements" that the MPAA likes to announce with companies it declares illegal are little more than Hollywood-style fabrications. Cases are closed with big press releases throwing around huge settlement numbers, knowing full well that the sites in question don't have anywhere near that kind of money available. At the end of 2013, it got two of these, with IsoHunt agreeing to 'pay' $110 million and Hotfile agreeing to 'pay' $80 million. In both cases, we noted that there was no chance that those sums would ever get paid. And now, thanks to the Sony hack, we at least know the details of the Hotfile settlement. TorrentFreak has been combing through the emails and found that the Hotfile settlement was really just for $4 million, and the $80 million was just a bogus number agreed to for the sake of a press release that the MPAA could use to intimidate others.

Submission + - The Dawn of Trustworthy Computing 1 writes: Nick Szabo writes that when we use web services, we are relying on an architecture based on full trust in an unknown "root" administrator, who can control everything that happens on the server. They can read, alter, delete, or block any data on that computer at will. Even data sent encrypted over a network is eventually unencrypted and ends up on a computer controlled in this total way. With current web services we are fully trusting, in other words we are fully vulnerable to, the computer, or more specifically the people who have access to that computer, both insiders and hackers, to faithfully execute our orders, secure our payments, and so on. Compare this architecture to traditional commercial protocols, such as ticket-selling at a movie theater, that distribute a transaction so that no employee can steal money or resources undetected. There is no "root administrator" at a movie theater who can pocket your cash undetected. On the Internet, instead of securely and reliably handing over cash and getting our goods or services, or at least a ticket, we have to fill out forms and make ourselves vulnerable to identity theft in order to participate in e-commerce.

Recently a developing technology, often called "the block chain", is starting to change this. A block chain computer is a virtual computer, a computer in the cloud, shared across many traditional computers and protected by cryptography and consensus technology. A block-chain computer, in sharp contrast to a web server, is shared across many such traditional computers controlled by dozens to thousands of people. By its very design each computer checks each other's work, and thus a block chain computer reliably and securely executes our instructions up to the security limits of block chain technology, which is known formally as anonymous and probabilistic Byzantine consensus (sometimes also called Nakamoto consensus). Instead of the cashier and ticket-ripper of the movie theater, the block chain consists of thousands of computers that can process digital tickets, money, and many other fiduciary objects in digital form. "I think we see every week now somewhere between one and three entrepreneurs come in with blockchain ideas," says Chris Dixon. "There's definitely some momentum behind it."

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce