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Submission + - The myth of the ISIS encrypted messaging app (dailydot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Despite widespread media reports to the contrary, an app created for Islamic State militants to send private encrypted messages does not exist, a Daily Dot investigation found.

On Jan. 12, Defense One reported that that the Islamic State allegedly built a new Android app called Alrawi for exchanging encrypted messages, based on claims from online counter-terrorism outfit Ghost Security Group (GSG). The claim was quickly reprinted by Newsweek, Fortune, TechCrunch, and the Times of India—the largest English-language newspaper in the world—among many others.

However, it seems as though hype and fear, rather than concrete evidence of a genuine tool for orchestrating terrorists attacks, played the primary role in propagating word of its existence.
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GSG was unable to provide a version of Alrawi with encrypted communications, but they did point to a jihadist website offering custom-built software where GSG said they originally found the Alrawi encrypted messaging app.
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So, where is the Alrawi encryption app?

Multiple security researchers who closely follow the Islamic State’s online activity say that they haven’t seen the Alrawi app being discussed or shared in any of ISIS’s online channels. Nobody from ISIS seems to know anything about this app, based on extensive online conversations viewed by the Daily Dot and other ISIS observers.

“Basically, [it's] a lot of bullshit over nothing,” Sehnaoui said. “I think it is just a bad media mock-up to try and get some attention. There is nothing even remotely professional or functional about both these apps.”

Ghost Security Group, whose claims are regularly featured in the media, says that it has a working relationship with U.S. counterterrorism officials, and it appears the group passes along information in an informal capacity.

Beyond news of the Alrawi app, GSG has proven its power to generate headlines. In addition to the popular publications that covered the Alrawi app, the group and its associates have been spotlighted by outlets as high-profile and wide-reaching as CNN, BBC, and Fox News. In each report, connections to the U.S. government provide the foundation for the group’s authority.

Submission + - Do We Really Need Chief Digital Officers?

StewBeans writes: There seems to be a lot of debate around the need for a Chief Digital Officer, with strong opinions on both sides. But when you consider that only 6 percent of companies have hired one, it would appear that most are unconvinced. Theo Priestley writes in Forbes about the hype surrounding the role, saying, "the digital role is performed by the Chief Customer Officer, Chief Innovation Officer or Chief Technology Officer. There is also overlap with the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Talk about stepping on every toe in the C-suite." On the other side, Chris Curran, chief technologist at PwC, is convinced that every company needs a CDO. He says that even if your company has a CIO and CMO, they have "competing objectives and perspectives," leaving customers and users frustrated, while also wasting time and money. He makes a case for solving this in your company by bringing a CDO on board.

Submission + - James Bamford Exposes The NSA's 9/11 Cover-Up

Nicola Hahn writes: Back in March of 2000, one of the 9/11 hijackers called Osama bin Laden’s operation center in Yemen from his apartment in San Diego. For some reason the call was never investigated. Former NSA director Michael Hayden, in an interview with Frontline, claimed that the NSA was unable to determine that the phone call had originated from San Diego. He used this same explanation to help justify the bulk phone record collection program that was implemented under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Thanks to James Bamford and a handful of NSA whistleblowers we know that Hayden was lying. The NSA was well aware of the caller’s identity and his location. The fact that intelligence officials didn’t follow up on this raises all sorts of disturbing questions.

Submission + - Could the Slashdot community take control of Slashdot? 10

turp182 writes: This is intended to be an idea generation story for how the community itself could purchase and then control Slashdot. If this happened I believe a lot of former users would at least come and take a look, and some of them would participate again.

This is not about improving the site, only about aquiring the site.

First, here's what we know:
1. DHI (Dice) paid $20 million for Slashdot, SourceForce, and Freecode, purchased from Geeknet back in 2012:
    http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/...
2. Slashdot has an Alexa Global Rank of 1,689, obtaining actual traffic numbers require money to see:
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/...
3. According to Quantcast, Slashdot has over 250,000 unique monthly views:
    https://www.quantcast.com/slas...
4. Per an Arstechnia article, Slashdot Media (Slashdot and Sourceforge) had 2015Q2 revenues of $1.7 million and have expected full year revenues of $15-$16 million (which doesn't make sense given the quarterly number):
    http://arstechnica.com/informa...

Next, things we don't know:
0. Is Slashdot viable without a corporate owner? (the only question that matters)
1. What would DHI (Dice) sell Slashdot for? Would they split it from Sourceforge?
2. What are the hosting and equipment costs?
3. What are the personnel costs (editors, advertising saleforce, etc.)?
4. What other expenses does the site incur (legal for example)?
5. What is Slashdot's portion of the revenue of Slashdot Media?

These questions would need to be answered in order to valuate the site. Getting that info and performing the valuation would require expensive professional services.

What are possible ways we could proceed?

In my opinion, a non-profit organization would be the best route.

Finally, the hard part: Funding. Here are some ideas.

1. Benefactor(s) — It would be very nice to have people with some wealth that could help.
2. Crowdfunding/Kickstarter — I would contribute to such an effort I think a lot of Slashdotters would contribute. I think this would need to be a part of the funding rather than all of it.
3. Grants and Corporate Donations — Slashdot has a wide and varied membership and audience. We regularly see post from people that work at Google, Apple, and Microsoft. And at universities. We are developers (like me), scientists, experts, and also ordinary (also like me). A revived Slashdot could be a corporate cause in the world of tax deductions for companies.
4. ????
5. Profit!

Oh, the last thing: Is this even a relevant conversation?

I can't say. I think timing is the problem, with generating funds and access to financial information (probably won't get this without the funds) being the most critical barriers. Someone will buy the site, we're inside the top 2,000 global sites per info above.

The best solution, I believe, is to find a large corporate "sponsor" willing to help with the initial purchase and to be the recipient of any crowd sourcing funds to help repay them. The key is the site would have to have autonomy as a separate organization. They could have prime advertising space (so we should focus on IBM...) with the goal would be to repay the sponsor in full over time (no interest please?).

The second best is seeking a combination of "legal pledges" from companies/schools/organizations combined with crowdsourcing. This could get access to the necessary financials.

Also problematic, from a time perspective, a group of people would need to be formed to handle organization (managing fundraising/crowdsourcing) and interations with DHI (Dice). All volunteer for sure.

Is this even a relevant conversation? I say it is, I actually love Slashdot; it offers fun, entertaining, and enlightning conversation (I browse above the sewer), and I find the article selection interesting (this gyrates, but I still check a lot).

And to finish, the most critical question: Is Slashdot financially viable as an independent organization?

Submission + - Windows 10 downloads trying to bend the world wide web (windows10update.com)

Ammalgam writes: Microsoft has started rolling Windows 10 out in advance of the July 29th launch. With each new geographical region that slips into July 29th, the world wide web strains just a little more. Experts are saying that Microsoft has reserved up to 40 Tbps with all of the key CDNs. This is an INSANE amount of bandwidth. What’s even crazier is that Microsoft may already have consumed over 10 Tbps and they are just getting started. Are you guys seeing the download on your PC yet?

Submission + - Impossible to Submit Corrections to POSIX (sdtimes.com)

bobo the hobo writes: ""This all began with Ken Thompson. The original Unix geek, Thompson was once asked if he he’d change anything about Unix if he had to do it over again. His response was that he’d spell the flag “O_CREAT” “O_CREATE”. This admission inspired Spiegelmock, and he began a lengthy journey into the heart of Unix. ...
And this is where Spiegelmock encountered the silliness that is now the POSIX standards process. First, he was stymied by ridiculously invasive registration processes built with extremely old software. Then he was rebuked by the utterly fragile PHP website behind it. Finally, he washed ashore on a semi-functioning page that gave him some of the names of the folks associated with the POSIX standard and the Austin Common Standards Revision Group.""

Submission + - US Government Doesn't Want You to Know How to Make a Hydrogen Bomb 3

HughPickens.com writes: The atom bomb — leveler of Hiroshima and instant killer of some 80,000 people — is just a pale cousin compared to the hydrogen bomb, another product of American ingenuity, that easily packs the punch of a thousand Hiroshimas. That is why Washington has for decades done everything in its power to keep the details of its design out of the public domain. Now William J. Broad reports in the NYT that Kenneth W. Ford has defied a federal order to cut material from his new book that the government says teems with thermonuclear secrets. Ford says he included the disputed material because it had already been disclosed elsewhere and helped him paint a fuller picture of an important chapter of American history. But after he volunteered the manuscript for a security review, federal officials told him to remove about 10 percent of the text, or roughly 5,000 words. “They wanted to eviscerate the book,” says Ford. “My first thought was, ‘This is so ridiculous I won’t even respond.’ ” For instance, the federal agency wanted him to strike a reference to the size of the first hydrogen test device — its base was seven feet wide and 20 feet high. Dr. Ford responded that public photographs of the device, with men, jeeps and a forklift nearby, gave a scale of comparison that clearly revealed its overall dimensions.

Though difficult to make, hydrogen bombs are attractive to nations and militaries because their fuel is relatively cheap. Inside a thick metal casing, the weapon relies on a small atom bomb that works like a match to ignite the hydrogen fuel. Today, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the only declared members of the thermonuclear club, each possessing hundreds or thousands of hydrogen bombs. Military experts suspect that Israel has dozens of hydrogen bombs. India, Pakistan and North Korea are seen as interested in acquiring the potent weapon. The big secret the book discusses is thermal equilibrium, the discovery that the temperature of the hydrogen fuel and the radiation could match each other during the explosion (PDF). World Scientific, a publisher in Singapore, recently made Dr. Ford’s book public in electronic form, with print versions to follow. Ford remains convinced the book “contains nothing whatsoever whose dissemination could, by any stretch of the imagination, damage the United States or help a country that is trying to build a hydrogen bomb.” “Were I to follow all — or even most — of your suggestions,” says Ford, “it would destroy the book.”

Submission + - Radio Shack collapse continues (cnn.com)

grimmjeeper writes: According to a CNN article, Radio Shack is being accused of defaulting on a loan. Their stock has lost 90% of it's value in the last year. They've fallen below the $50M market value and have been delisted by the NYSE. They say they have no intention to submit a plan to raise their market value to be relisted.

The once proud and ubiquitous Radio Shack basically dead. It just doesn't know enough to stop breathing yet. Decades of mismanagement, failing to keep up with changes in the market place, failures to capitalize on their strengths, it's all caught up with them. There is nothing left for them to do at this point. They are too far gone. The fat lady is about to take the stage.

Submission + - Elsevier going after authors sharing their own papers (svpow.com) 2

David Gerard writes: Elsevier, in final desperation mode, is going after authors sharing their own papers online. Academia.edu reported to several researchers that Elsevier "is currently upping the ante in its opposition to academics sharing their own papers online." This is the sound of a boycott biting. Repeat after me: "Elsevier delenda est."

Submission + - US Navy Launches Aircraft from Submerged Submarine

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: MarineLink reports that a fuel cell-powered, unmanned aerial system (UAS) aircraft has been successfully launched from the submerged 'USS Providence' (SSN 719) and flew a several hour mission demonstrating live video capabilities streamed back to the submarine offering a pathway to providing mission critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the US Navy's submarine force. "Developing disruptive technologies and quickly getting them into the hands of our sailors is what our SwampWorks program is all about," says Craig A. Hughes, Acting Director of Innovation at the Office of Naval Research. "This demonstration really underpins ONR's dedication and ability to address emerging fleet priorities." The XFC UAS — eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System — was fired from the submarine's torpedo tube using a 'Sea Robin' launch vehicle system designed to fit within an empty Tomahawk launch canister (TLC) used for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles already familiar to submarine sailors. Once deployed from the TLC, the Sea Robin launch vehicle with integrated XFC rose to the ocean surface where it appeared as a spar buoy. Upon command of Providence Commanding Officer, the XFC then vertically launched from Sea Robin and flew a successful several hour mission.

Submission + - A Video Game to Rejuvenate the Brain? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Designing activities to reverse the mental effects of aging is tricky. But NeuroRacer, a new racing video game created by neuroscientists shows promise in reversing some signs of decline.

The heart of the issue is whether practicing a video game can strengthen skills that are useful away from a computer. After training with NeuroRacer, older adults showed improvements in their multitasking skill. In fact, they scored better than untrained 20-year-olds. They also maintained this skill for 6 months after the training, without further practice. Indeed, even outside the video game world, people who trained with NeuroRacer saw improvements on certain tests of memory and attention.

Submission + - ComputerWorld suggests MS embrace cannibalization (computerworld.com)

coyote_oww writes: ComputerWorld analysis article suggests that MS should stop worrying about one product cutting into another product's sales, and concentrate on putting their best foot foward regardless of the impact on product lines. And the big impact would be the price of Windows: "... suggesting that Microsoft must... sell devices based on lower prices. And the only significant component ...that can be cut further...is the Windows license." It's wordy, the ... covers lots of tech-reader unnecessary verbiage. Still possible they could sell Windows version at different rates for different devices, but that could get hard to justify to consumers over the long haul.

Submission + - Nanoparticle Exposure Could Disrupt Immune Cell Function (cenm.ag)

MTorrice writes: A new study suggests there’s more to nanoparticle toxicology than cell life and death. Although immune cells treated with iron oxide particles appeared healthy in standard toxicology tests, they struggled to perform one of their key jobs: engulfing pathogenic bacteria. The researchers wonder if exposure to significant levels of the nanoparticles could lead to dysfunction in people’s immune systems.

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