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+ - Bird flocks resemble liquid helium->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A flock of starlings flies as one, a spectacular display in which each bird flits about as if in a well-choreographed dance. Everyone seems to know exactly when and where to turn. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured how that knowledge moves through the flock—a behavior that mirrors certain quantum phenomena of liquid helium. Some of the more interesting findings: Tracking data showed that the message for a flock to turn started from a handful of birds and swept through the flock at a constant speed between 20 and 40 meters per second. That means that for a group of 400 birds, it takes just a little more than a half-second for the whole flock to turn."
Link to Original Source

+ - The Long and Winding Road to the Surveillance Society->

Submitted by smugfunt
smugfunt (8972) writes "There is a new blog post by Adam Curtis tracing some of the strange connections and interesting characters in the evolution of the digital Panopticon we find ourselves living in. He posits that many of the data-driven systems now used in all sectors of society have the effect (deliberate and accidental) of forestalling change/fostering stability. As always, he brings to our attention some hitherto unnoticed 'men behind the curtain'."
Link to Original Source

+ - Pi Power - the power supply the Raspberry Pi *should* have come with->

Submitted by nsayer
nsayer (86181) writes "The Raspberry Pi is awesome. There's only one thing I dislike about it — how you're meant to power it. Crappy USB power supplies are ubiquitous, and the power more or less goes straight onto the +5 rail. Not only that, but the micro USB connector is SMT, and USB cables are much thicker and heavier than their 2.1mm barrel connector cable counterparts. No, it's just not the best tool for the job.

So I made Pi Power. It's a small board that sits on the GPIO pins (it comes with a stacking header so you can piggyback onto it) and has a 2.1mm barrel connector that will accept any DC voltage from 6-15 volts and output up to 2A of well regulated 5V power.

I sell them on Tindie for $15 ( https://www.tindie.com/product... ) and am running an IndieGoGo campaign to fund building 1000 of them at http://igg.me/at/PiPower ."

Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: After TrueCrypt->

Submitted by TechForensics
TechForensics (944258) writes "(Resubmitted because was not identified as "Ask Slashdot"

We all know the TrueCrypt story-- a fine, effective encryption program beginning to achieve wide use. When you see how the national security agency modified this tool so they could easily overcome it, you'll probably understand why they don't complain about PGP anymore. The slip that showed what was happening was the information that NSA "were really ticked about TrueCrypt" either because they couldn't circumvent it or found it too difficult. From the standpoint of privacy advocates, NSA's dislike for TrueCrypt was evidence it was effective.

Next, NSA directly wrapped up the makers of TrueCrypt in legal webs that made them insert an NSA backdoor and forbade them from revealing it was there. It's only because of the cleverness of the TrueCrypt makers the world was able to determine for itself that TrueCrypt was now compromised. (Among other things, though formerly staunch privacy advocates, the makers discontinued development of TrueCrypt and recommended something like Microsoft Bitlocker, which no one with any sense believes could be NSA – hostile. It then became logically defensible, since NSA was not complaining about PGP or other encryption programs, to posit they had already been compromised.

This is the situation we have: all of the main are important encryption programs are compromised at least in use against the federal government. Whether NSA tools are made available to local law enforcement is not known. This all begs the question:

Does the public now have *any* encryption that works? Even if we can see the source code of the encryption algorithm the source code of the program employing that algorithm must be considered false. (TrueCrypt was the only program NSA complained about.) In the case of other software, it becomes believable the NSA has allowed to be published only source code that hides their changes, and the only way around that may be to check and compile the published code yourself. Half the public probably doesn't bother.

Okay, Slashdot, what do you think? Where do we stand? And what ought we to do about it?We all know the TrueCrypt story-- a fine, effective encryption program beginning to achieve wide use. When you see how the national security agency modified this tool so they could easily overcome it, you'll probably understand why they don't complain about PGP anymore. The slip that showed what was happening was the information that NSA "were really ticked about TrueCrypt" either because they couldn't circumvent it or found it too difficult. From the standpoint of privacy advocates, NSA's dislike for TrueCrypt was evidence it was effective.

Next, NSA directly wrapped up the makers of TrueCrypt in legal webs that made them insert an NSA backdoor and forbade them from revealing it was there. It's only because of the cleverness of the TrueCrypt makers the world was able to determine for itself that TrueCrypt was now compromised. (Among other things, though formerly staunch privacy advocates, the makers discontinued development of TrueCrypt and recommended something like Microsoft Bitlocker, which no one with any sense believes could be NSA–hostile. It then became logically defensible, since NSA was not complaining about PGP or other encryption programs, to posit they had already been vitiated.

This is the situation we have: all of the main or important encryption programs are compromised at least in use against the federal government. Whether NSA tools are made available to local law enforcement is not known. This all begs the question:

Does the public now have *any* encryption that works? Even if we can see the source code of the encryption algorithm the source code of the program employing that algorithm must be considered tainted. (TrueCrypt was the only program NSA complained about.) In the case of other software, it becomes believable the NSA has allowed to be published only source code that hides their changes, and the only way around that may be to check and compile the published code yourself. Half the public probably doesn't bother. (Would it not be possible for the NSA to create a second TrueCrypt that has the same hash value as the original?)

Okay, Slashdot, what do you think? Where do we stand? And what ought we to do about it?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Enraged Verizon FiOS Customer Seemingly Demonstrates Netflix Throttling->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The ongoing battle between Netflix and ISPs that can't seem to handle the streaming video service's traffic, boiled over to an infuriating level for Colin Nederkoon, a startup CEO who resides in New York City. Rather than accept excuses and finger pointing from either side, Nederkoon did a little investigating into why he was receiving such slow Netflix streams on his Verizon FiOS connection. What he discovered is that there appears to be a clear culprit. Nederkoon pays for Internet service that promises 75Mbps downstream and 35Mbps upstream through his FiOS connection. However, his Netflix video streams were limping along at just 375kbps (0.375mbps), equivalent to 0.5 percent of the speed he's paying for. On a hunch, he decided to connect to a VPN service, which in theory should actually make things slower since it's adding extra hops. Speeds didn't get slower, they got much faster. After connecting to VyprVPN, his Netflix connection suddenly jumped to 3000kbps, the fastest the streaming service allows and around 10 times faster than when connecting directly with Verizon. Verizon may have a different explanation as to why Nederkoon's Netflix streams suddenly sped up, but in the meantime, it would appear that throttling shenanigans are taking place. It seems that by using a VPN, Verizon simply doesn't know which packets to throttle, hence the gross disparity in speed."
Link to Original Source

+ - Mark Zuckerberg now richer than Google co-founders and Jeff Bezos->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook's Chairman Mark Zuckerberg is now richer than Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; not letting Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos out of the picture.

The 30-year old Facebook founder is now worth $33 billion after he earns $1.6 billion on Thursday(today) after his company went up from $71 per share on Wednesday to $73 per share on Thursday. Facebook, on the other hand, is now valued at $205.57 billion"

Link to Original Source

+ - Experian breach exposed 200 million Americans' personal data over a year ago

Submitted by BUL2294
BUL2294 (1081735) writes "CNN Money is reporting that, prior to the Target breach that exposed information on 110 million customers, and prior to Experian gaining Target's "identity theft protection" business from that breach, Experian was involved a serious breach, to which nobody admits the scope of. Their subsidiary, Court Ventures, unwittingly sold access to a database to a Vietnamese fraudster named Hieu Minh Ngo. This database contained information on some 200 million Americans, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birthdays, work history, driver's license numbers, email addresses, and banking information. "Criminals tapped that database 3.1 million times, investigators said. Surprised you haven't heard this? It's because Experian is staying quiet about it. It's been more than a year since Experian was notified of the leak. Yet the company still won't say how many Americans were affected. CNNMoney asked Experian to detail the scope of the breach. The company refused. "As we've said consistently, it is an unfortunate and isolated issue," Experian spokesman Gerry Tschopp said.""

+ - Is encryption for the public now a myth?

Submitted by TechForensics
TechForensics (944258) writes "We all know the TrueCrypt story-- a fine, effective encryption program beginning to achieve wide use. When you see how the national security agency modified this tool so they could easily overcome it, you'll probably understand why they don't complain about PGP anymore. The slip that showed what was happening was the information that NSA "were really ticked about TrueCrypt" either because they couldn't circumvent it or found it too difficult. From the standpoint of privacy advocates, NSA's dislike for TrueCrypt was evidence it was effective.

Next, NSA directly wrapped up the makers of TrueCrypt in legal webs that made them insert an NSA backdoor and forbade them from revealing it was there. It's only because of the cleverness of the TrueCrypt makers the world was able to determine for itself that TrueCrypt was now compromised. (Among other things, though formerly staunch privacy advocates, the makers discontinued development of TrueCrypt and recommended something like Microsoft Bitlocker, which no one with any sense believes could be NSA – hostile. It then became logically defensible, since NSA was not complaining about PGP or other encryption programs, to posit they had already been vitiated.

This is the situation we have: all of the main are important encryption programs are compromised at least in use against the federal government. Whether NSA tools are made available to local law enforcement is not known. This all begs the question:

Does the public now have *any* encryption that works? Even if we can see the source code of the encryption algorithm the source code of the program employing that algorithm must be considered false. (TrueCrypt was the only program NSA complained about.) In the case of other software, it becomes believable the NSA has allowed to be published only source code that hides their changes, and the only way around that may be to check and compile the published code yourself. Half the public probably doesn't bother.

Okay, Slashdot, what do you think? Where do we stand? And what ought we to do about it?"

+ - Was the Internet Originally Created for Covert Domestic Surveillance?

Submitted by Jeremiah Cornelius
Jeremiah Cornelius (137) writes "From its creation by DoD contracts and grants to research institutions, there have been aspersions cast by those easily dismissed as "fringe" commentators, on the nefarious, or at least covert, motivation to create the Internet. Conspiracy theory may have been met by reality in recent months with now commonplace reporting, first by Wikileaks and later, in the more extensive Edward Snowden revelations. It is still almost canon, that NSA mass-surveillance and warrantless information analysis occurred through coopting the burgeoning Internet, and diverting traffic in a way that is counter to the ideals of its creators and promoters. But what if the social, commercial Internet were always intended as a sort of giant honeypot? The idea would still seem farfetched, if it weren't recently disclosed by William Binney that the NSA is recording 80% of all US phone conversations — not simply metadata. Closer examination of the record shows that ARPAnet was being used to clandestinely gather information on the legitimate activities of US citizens — and transmit the information to the US Army Intelligence Command NSA — as far back as 1968! According to articles published in 1975 by MIT in "The Tech":


"via the ARPANET, a computer network connecting more than 50 government agencies and universities throughout the country. The network is funded by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)... The information, according to intelligence sources, was transferred and stored at the headquarters of the National Security Agency (NSA), at Fort Meade, Maryland. The Army files were transmitted on the ARPANET in about January 1972, sources say, more than two years after the material — and the data banks maintained at the [Army's] Fort Holabird facility — were ordered destroyed."


MIT officials were worried 40 years ago, about this abuse of interconnected TCP communications and the complicity of their own research scientists. These concerns arose at the height of the Watergate fallout and downfall of President Nixon for illegal wiretapping and information theft allegations. The danger of Government "record keeping" was outlined by Senator Sam Ervin, in an address to MIT that was also profiled in the same publication. Clearly, this did not begin in the last decade, and clearly pre-dates the 2001 "Global War on Terror" pretext. It is important to remember, the NSA was an almost unknown agency at this time, and was chartered to strictly forbid intel on US citizens and those dwelling within US borders."

+ - Researchers fully 'delete' HIV from human cells for the first time

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "So far, HIV has eluded a cure because it installs its genome into human DNA so insidiously that it's impossible for our immune system to clear it out. While current treatments are effective, a lifetime of toxic drugs are required to prevent its recurrence. But researchers from Temple University may have figured out a way to permanently excise it using a highly-engineered HIV "editor." Here's how it works: the team analyzed a part of our immune system that fights infection and built a "guide RNA" strand consisting of 20 nucleotides (RNA building blocks). Those strands were then injected into cells typically infected with HIV, like T-cells. There, they targeted the end parts of the virus's gene and snipped out all 9,709 nucleotides that made up its genome. Since the guide RNA strand contained no human DNA sequences, it left the host cell intact — but free from HIV."

+ - Introducing Verto. A new open-source HTML5 based WebRTC project from FreeSWITCH->

Submitted by Anthony Minessale
Anthony Minessale (3662225) writes "Connect any HTML5 application to FreeSWITCH and make calls, exchange events and leverage the power of stereo VoIP to create 3d positional conferences or any other voice-driven applications.

Learn more about the goals of the project from this open forum at PHONEWORD.org http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

We will also be demonstrating and giving presentations on Verto at ClueCon in just under 2 weeks. http://www.cluecon.com/"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Whew! No worries. Dilbert is still slightly ahead. (Score 2) 272

For a moment I was worried that Dilbert cartoon craziness was falling behind real-world craziness. I'm relieved that Dilbert is still ahead:
Most of us are only pretending to work while secretly hoping the project gets canceled after you get fired by the board.

Dilbert is not accurate, I think, about Microsoft. For Microsoft, the 6th panel,
"I expect the decline in morale to lead to violence"
should be
"I expect the decline in morale to lead to more decline in morale."

Comment: Opinion: Satya Nadella is not a competent CEO. (Score 1) 272

It seems to me that anyone who says this, I synthesized our strategic direction..., is utterly incompetent at coordinating a large group. That is unthinking corporate-speak. It communicates non-verbally that he has no understanding of what is needed.

More:

"... realign our workforce..."

"... work toward synergies and strategic alignment..."

"... drive greater accountability..."

"... become more agile and move faster."

"... fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, ..."

"... flattening organizations..."

"... increasing the span of control of people managers."

"... our business processes and support models will be more lean and efficient with greater trust between teams."
Comment: Corporate-speak does not build trust, it destroys trust.

"... more productive, impactful teams..."

"Each organization is starting at different points and moving at different paces."
Comment: That is utterly obvious.

"We will realize the synergies..."

"... align to Microsoft's strategic direction."

"... we will focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens..."

"... builds on our success in the affordable smartphone space..."

"... aligns with our focus..."

I'm very interested in the sociology of this. My understanding is that the Microsoft board of directors is utterly incompetent, has little understanding of technology, and merely chose the person to be CEO who was consistently most pleasant and ingratiating.

A competent CEO would not announce a huge advancement until it was already accomplished.

The sweeping changes Satya Nadella is announcing require huge amounts of research and understanding. It is simply not possible to accomplish successfully a re-organization of a huge company as though it were one action.

A competent top coordinator would announce a little at a time and provide meaningful and detailed explanation about why each change was necessary, and how decisions were made.

A competent top coordinator would make it clear that much of the wisdom of ideas about changes came from other people inside the company.

My opinions.

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