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


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Comment Re:Pedestrians are green and can bleed red, too. (Score 1) 542

Oh, also, what sidewalk? I'm talking about country roads on the extreme east side of Tucson. Roads like Freeman, Tanque Verde Loop, Old Spanish Trail, et cetera. These are roads that have bike lanes in both directions, but very little shoulder beyond that. And certainly no sidewalks. This isn't the center of town, or whatever you're imagining, I'm talking about. Of course I run on the sidewalk where there is one. Anyway, your post is a major misfire. You assume multiple things that aren't true. I'm sorry to hear about your bad experiences.

Comment Re:Pedestrians are green and can bleed red, too. (Score 5, Insightful) 542

It's been years since I've logged into Slashdot and commented, but I have to say a few words regarding cyclists. I live in Tucson, Arizona, one of the better cities in the U.S. as far as bicycle lanes and places for cyclists to ride. I don't ride a bicycle; I don't even own one. I'm a runner, and I often find myself running along the side of roads, including in bicycle lanes. Over the course of the last four years, I've never had a bicyclist who wasn't courteous, usually yelling "runner!" to those coming up behind them. Cyclists have always given me plenty of room, and I've heard plenty of "doing good!" and other comments of encouragement from them, as they pass me. Likewise in higher traffic areas, where there are traffic lights, cars and pedestrians, I've seen (with just a few exceptions) cyclists obey the traffic laws and ride courteously around pedestrians. The problem, at least here in Tucson, isn't cyclists. The problem is the motorists. Somehow I get the feeling this is the case in every city in America.

Facebook Master Password Was "Chuck Norris" 319

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Facebook employee has given a tell-all interview with some very interesting things about Facebook's internals. Especially interesting are all the things relating to Facebook privacy. Basically, you don't have any. Nearly everything you've ever done on the site is recorded into a database. While they fire employees for snooping, more than a few have done it. There's an internal system to let them log into anyone's profile, though they have to be able to defend their reason for doing so. And they used to have a master password that could log into any Facebook profile: 'Chuck Norris.' Bruce Schneier might be jealous of that one."

What Does Google Suggest Suggest About Humanity? 513

CNETNate writes "You'll laugh, but mostly you'll cry. Some of the questions Google gets asked to deliver results for is beyond worrying. 'Can you put peroxide in your ear?', 'Why would a pregnancy test be negative?', and 'Why can't I own a Canadian?' being just a selection of the truly baffling — and disturbing — questions Google is regularly forced to answer."

Submission + - 16 yr old jailed under Patriot act due to spoofers

Joe 'Nova' writes: Full story here, digg up.

Apparently, a 16 yr old has an IP phone, and it gets spoofed. Spoofer sends in a bomb threat, family gets rude awakening at 10pm despite alibi for son. During initial hearing, the agent(no name as yet) disregards the fact many similar incidents have happened, and denies spoofing even exists! When I heard this on the radio today, I knew just the sleuths to help on it. ;)
Because he is charged under the Patriot Act(ironic, no?), he has no rights ala Gitmo. This has all the feel of bad precedent case law, and his own mother, Annette Lundeby, has severely limited visitation. There is an interview with her second hour on or . She is currently searching for a pro-bono, better than public defender that can represent her case, IANAL, all computers and game consoles were confiscated.
Any cases proving phone spoofing would be greatly appreciated, I don't know his specific make/model, more details to come. The mother has documented the spoofers on youtube bragging on how they made this family suffer, can a slashdotter find? Youtube(Liveleak)
Very chilling indeed!

Submission + - QWest confirms, then denies rate limiting YouTube

An anonymous reader writes: I live in western Washington. My DSL provider is QWest: I bought 1.5Mb/800Kb. About a week ago, my companion said that her download speed with YouTube, TED and others was substantially less than it had been. I suggested that it might be the outbound load on host site. Her complaints about poor performance persisted. The short of it is that after a long dialog with QWest, they first confirmed that they are rate limiting. They subsequently contacted me to say that they are not rate limiting.

This morning I ran some standard tests: speed test ( reports that I have the full 1.5Mb/sec I bought. I tried viewing a YouTube video, a long one (50 minutes) and found the experience painful, about 20% of the speed it should be. I suspected QWest of rate limiting. I used an external proxy server to view the same YouTube video. It appeared to download at full speed.

I called QWest DSL support. They were unhelpful, even when I escallated to a supervisor. I next called "customer service". The lady I talked to said she wasn't a techie and barely understood the terms "rate limiting" and the like. She transferred me to "Broadband Retention". I explained the apparent rate limiting to that individual. He denied knowing anything about it, but did transfer me to "Louis" in some tech department (not regular DSL support). I explained my observations and tests one more time to "Louis". He denied that QWest was rate limiting. Louis did put me on hold for a good while. When he came back he referred me to the QWest "subscriber agreement" at:
He cites the second page, end of the first paragraph, where it says that QWest may limit speeds. He also cites a "FAQ on Excessive use Policy"
and admitted that QWest was, indeed, rate limiting YouTube and other streaming sites.

I asked for a discount based on degraded service. Louis conferenced me to "Jason" in the "loyalty group". I told Jason that I thought 1.5Mb/sec but with rate limited access to YouTube, etc, was worth about $10/month. Jason offered $15/month for 3 months. I said, "Not good enough. Make it permanent". He declined.

I told both Jason and Louis that would post a summary of my discussion with QWest to Consumerist, Reddit and Slashdot. I ended the conversation with a polite "Good day".

About 20 minutes later Lousi called to change his previous statement that QWest rate limits YouTube and others. He now declares that QWest does not rate limit. — From my observation, it does appear that QWest does rate limit. Maybe smarter folks than I can determine the truth.
The Internet

Submission + - President to be able to shut down the Internet? (

filmmaker writes: "In the following YouTube clip, Rep. Weiner suggest to House subcommittee that the President have on/off switch for the Internet. This goes right along with Jay Rockefeller's Senate Bill S. 773, which would limit all kinds of Internet freedoms, for instance, giving the President the aforementioned "on/off" switch for the entire 'net (in the U.S., at least) and requiring anyone who works in computer security, even if for a private firm, to register into a Federal gov't database..."

Submission + - CIFTA Treaty and You (

cagrin writes: "From this article discussing Obama bringing up support for CIFTA Treaty with Mexican President Felipe Calderon:

"Obama has promised Mexican President Felipe Calderon that he would urge the Senate to take up CIFTA. He is doing this under the cover of the drug cartel violence in Mexico. Obama and Calderon quoted a statistic echoed by the corporate media that 90% of the weapons seized in Mexican raids were purchased from U.S. gun shops and a reason why the U.S. needs to ratify this treaty. In fact, this is a lie — only a mere 17% of guns found at Mexico crime scenes have been traced to the U.S."

Lou Dobb's also discusses the affect it would have on 2nd amendment rights if ratified in Senate.

"One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" — Plato"

Comment Cyber threat fear is being drummed up right now (Score 3, Insightful) 247

Ok, over the last couple weeks, several stories have made their way into the news about cybersecurity.

These stories overstate the threat, and, in particular, only serve to loudly announce things which are already well known. For example, the fact that DoD systems are probed continuously by the Chinese. But! That's always been true. Where were all the alarming sounding news reports last year? Two years ago? Ten years ago? Where was Jay Rockefeller's Senate bill, S. 773, which aims to restrict Internet freedom in the United States in previous years? We can all expect the media heat to increase even more as the public is whipped into a frenzy of fear, and then comes to accept that we need the Federal Government to restrict our Internet freedom--for our own safety, of course!

As these stories come through Slashdot, we all bicker amongst ourselves as to how grave the threat is. Or where it's coming from. Or how we might combat it. It's so predictable. And while we're distracted with these irrelevant (although admittedly interesting in some cases) discussions, Senate and House bills are moving through our Congress right now which I consider to be "Patriot Acts" for the Internet. Nobody is talking about those, though.

We get what we deserve when we demand nothing at all.

Submission + - The God Delusion

fiannaFailMan writes: Richard Dawkins has attracted a lot of attention with The God Delusion, and for good reason. He pulls no punches with a robust defence of atheism and reason as opposed to using faith as a means of making important life decisions. The tone of the book is shamelessly opinionated, and he leaves you in no doubt as to where he stands. His aim is to encourage more people to 'come out' as atheists, and to 'raise the consciousness' of those who tolerate the widely-held assumptions that blind faith in a higher existence is a virtue and that faith and science are both equally valid. Atheists remain one of the last social groups who are openly vilified and discriminated against on account of what they think, and Dawkins wants that to change.

The damage that has been done to the world by faith-based reasoning and organised religion is covered in a fair amount of detail with plenty of anecdotal stories thrown in to give the reader something to latch onto on an emotional level. The supression of scientific development, the teaching of ignorance at the expense of scientific fact, the subjugation of women, the abuse and brainwashing of children, the fallacy that only faith has a moral code, and of course the jihads and religious wars are all covered.

The philosophical arguments in favour of the God Hypothesis, as he calls it, are presented and knocked down one by one in incisive detail, and many are exposed as circular reasoning. The foundations of religion, the ancient scriptures, are examined closely, and the cruelty and violence of the old testament God is explained in shocking clarity. God is portrayed as an insecure, vengeful, jealous, genocidal maniac. Interestingly, there are examples of scripture that look suspiciously like they were duplicated during centuries of editing. For example, Lot's departure from Sodom (after he showed God how righteous he was by offering his daughters up to a mob to be raped in order to protect some angels who came to visit, Genesis 19:7-8) is suspiciously similar to another story in Judges 19:23-4. The mysoginist tone of the monotheistic holy books is made very clear throughout all of this, indicating how it was all written by men in a time when women were considered almost sub-human, and there are people in the world today who still want to adhere to such inhumane principles both in Christendom as well as the Islamic world.

There is an interesting exploration of the Catholic church's talent for making things up as it goes along using its own self interest as a motive and warped reasoning as the justification. Purgotory was invented as a means of justifying prayer (also exposed as ineffective elsewhere in the book) for the dead and as a means of generating revenue in the form of 'indulgences,' something the author describes as 'the medeival equivalent of the Nigerian internet scam.'

At all times, Dawkins keeps yanking the reader back to the reality of how the world works as explained by science. Natural selection is described not as an unlikely 'chance mutation' but as a gradual process in which the development of complex organisms is actually inevitable in many places in the universe wherever the conditions are suitable. Intelligent design advocates look for holes in scientific knowledge that can only be plugged by a god, only to retract whenever science plugs the gap with new discoveries.

Some people deride atheism as an 'empty existence' and having 'no meaning.' Dawkins extolls the virtues of atheism coupled with a deep understanding of the wonders of science. The universe as known to science is much bigger and much more impressive than the relatively small and young concoction of the ancient peoples who needed simple stories for simple people to explain that which they did not yet have the scientific knowledge to understand.

If you are an atheist and have been shy about voicing your beliefs (or lack thereof) in the presence of religious people, reading this book will give you new confidence and pride in your preference for reason over faith.

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson