Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression 872

Posted by timothy
from the what-else-would-the-pope-say? dept.
hcs_$reboot writes Pope Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks, defending free speech as not only a fundamental human right but a duty to speak one's mind for the sake of the common good. But he added there were limits. While Francis insisted that it was an "aberration" to kill in the name of God and said religion can never be used to justify violence, he said there was a limit to free speech when it concerned offending someone's religious beliefs. By way of example, he referred to a friend: "if someone says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch". "There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others," he said. "They are provocateurs."

Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science 786

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-who-didn't-want-the-worst-parts-of-politics-in-science dept.
Lasrick writes: Michael Mann writes about the ad hominem attacks on scientists, especially climate scientists, that have become much more frequent over the last few decades. Mann should know: his work as a postdoc on the famed "hockey stick" graph led him to be vilified by Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal. Wealthy interests such as the Scaife Foundation and Koch Industries pressured Penn State University to fire him (they didn't). Right-wing elected officials attempted to have Mann's personal records and emails (and those of other climate scientists) subpoenaed and tried to have the "hockey stick" discredited in the media, despite the fact that the National Academy of Sciences reaffirmed the work, and that subsequent reports of the IPCC and the most recent peerreviewed research corroborates it.

Even worse, Mann and his family were targets of death threats. Despite (or perhaps because of) the well-funded and ubiquitous attacks, Mann believes that flat-out climate change denialism is losing favor with the public, and he lays out how and why scientists should engage and not retreat to their labs to conduct research far from the public eye. "We scientists must hold ourselves to a higher standard than the deniers-for-hire. We must be honest as we convey the threat posed by climate change to the public. But we must also be effective. The stakes are simply too great for us to fail to communicate the risks of inaction. The good news is that scientists have truth on their side, and truth will ultimately win out."

Comment: Re:The idea or concept of god... (Score 1) 755

by fibonacci8 (#48701213) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God
I'd say they definitely don't exist, but only because "exist" is the wrong word for them. Infinity doesn't exist either, but can be defined in terms of other things, can be felt, assumed, and many other things. Existence is too limiting a term for some of the concepts you've described.

Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God 755

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-argue dept.
StartsWithABang writes: This past weekend, Eric Metaxas lit up the world with his bold article in the Wall Street Journal, Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God. As a scientific counterpoint, this article fully addresses three major points of that "case," including what the condition are that we need for life to arise, how rare (or common) are those conditions, and if we don't find life where we expect it, can we learn anything about God at all?

Snowden Documents Show How Well NSA Codebreakers Can Pry 278

Posted by timothy
from the keeping-you-well-under-surveillance dept.
Der Spiegel has published today an excellent summary of what some of Edward Snowden's revelations show about the difficulty (or, generally, ease) with which the NSA and collaborating intelligence services can track, decrypt, and correlate different means of online communication. An interesting slice: The NSA and its allies routinely intercept [HTTPS] connections -- by the millions. According to an NSA document, the agency intended to crack 10 million intercepted https connections a day by late 2012. The intelligence services are particularly interested in the moment when a user types his or her password. By the end of 2012, the system was supposed to be able to "detect the presence of at least 100 password based encryption applications" in each instance some 20,000 times a month. For its part, Britain's GCHQ collects information about encryption using the TLS and SSL protocols -- the protocols https connections are encrypted with -- in a database called "FLYING PIG." The British spies produce weekly "trends reports" to catalog which services use the most SSL connections and save details about those connections. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Hotmail, Yahoo and Apple's iCloud service top the charts, and the number of catalogued SSL connections for one week is in the many billions -- for the top 40 sites alone. ... The NSA also has a program with which it claims it can sometimes decrypt the Secure Shell protocol (SSH). This is typically used by systems administrators to log into employees' computers remotely, largely for use in the infrastructure of businesses, core Internet routers and other similarly important systems. The NSA combines the data collected in this manner with other information to leverage access to important systems of interest.

Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work? 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-get-what-you-pay-for dept.
Bennett Haselton writes Sidecar is a little-known alternative to Lyft and Uber, deployed in only ten cities so far, which lets drivers set their own prices to undercut other ride-sharing services. Given that most amateur drivers would be willing to give someone a ride for far less than the rider would be willing to pay, why didn't the flex-pricing option take off? Keep reading to see what Bennet has to say.

'Revolving Door' Spins Between AT&T, Government 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the sensible-paranoia dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from the Center for Public Integrity: That AT&T just won an eight-figure contract to provide the federal government's General Services Administration with new mobile devices isn't itself particularly notable. What is: Casey Coleman, an AT&T executive responsible for "delivering IT and professional services to federal government customers," oversaw the GSA's information technology division and its $600 million IT budget as recently as January. ... While there’s no evidence anything illegal took place, the public still should be aware of, and potentially worried about, Coleman’s spin through the revolving door between government and companies that profit from government, said Michael Smallberg, an investigator at the nonpartisan watchdog group Project on Government Oversight. ... Federal government employees leaving public service for lucrative private sector jobs is commonplace. The Project on Government Oversight has called on the federal government to — among other actions — ban political appointees and some senior-level staffers from seeking employment with contractors that “significantly benefited” from policies they helped formulate during their tenure in government.

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all alike.