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Submission + - Traveling Salesman in Polynomial Time? ( 2

James writes: Kingrames, a regular Slashdotter, has recently posted his second of two solutions to the Traveling Salesman problem, both of which are done in Polynomial time. He's asking for fellow mathematicians and computer scientists to lend a hand in proving and disproving his theories, and welcomes all feedback. If this discovery turns out to be true, it calls into question the idea that there are no polynomial-time solutions to these "hard" problems, and that would be very significant. If you have the time, and the inclination, please consider lending your helping hand.

Comment Re:They don't have to do heavy lifting (Score 2) 443

Problem is you you move parts of the code to the server you run into bigger load problems than Ubisoft currently has, they obviously do not have the infrastructure to keep that alive without outages, then you have the lag.
Etc... it will become harder to crack, but they will alienate even more customers that way, and in the end no one will buy their games anymore.
Sersiously, if the industry is going to move to DRM like that I will give up gaming, or just buy independend anymore. It is not like it hurts if you stop gaming, or play your unplayed back catalog.
It is just like giving up an old habit.

Comment Re:Oh shut up (Score 2, Insightful) 530

You handle it gracefully and politely, while covering your ass. You point out that the current policy says you'll get fired for just giving out the passwords - so you ask your boss for some guidance on how to resolve the situation properly - their need for access and your concern about policy (or whatever). You work together... not against each other with policy as a hammer.

Comment Israel (Score 1) 204

I also note the claim I did make, that "Zionists will do almost anything to create a Jewish state for Jews only", wasn't commented on.

For a number of reasons. First of all, it's an unfair categorization: Anyone who's pro-Israel = Zionist = willing to murder in cold blood "to create a Jewish state for Jews only".

Show me where I said "pro-Israel = Zionist" never mind the " = willing to murder in cold blood" part. If you can't stop spreading lies.

Since you can't carry on a conversation without making up lies I see no reason to continue.


Comment Re:How many ways are there to do simple things? (Score 1) 694

The problem with this is for people redoing classes. I had redone a class and submitted code which included a function that I had written in the same class the first time round. I got flagged as plaigiarising. Fortunately this one got sorted out and they realised that they were in fact wrong.

My wife, however, was taking a non computer-science course and between the two years there was the same assignments for a class she needed to repeat. She changed it to make it better and submitted it. Then she was flagged as plaigiarising. It took 2 years to sort out that the lecturer was a douche and they were eventually fired. It was a lot of effort to go to though. So, automated tools are great, but it does need to be adressed by humans (which TFA and TFS does say too).


Submission + - Commodore 64 primed for a comeback in June ( 1

angry tapir writes: "The Commodore 64 is getting a makeover, with a new design and some of the latest computing technologies, as the brand gets primed for a comeback. The revamped computer will be available through the Commodore USA online store, which is set to open June 1. The computer will be an all-in-one keyboard, with Intel's 64-bit quad-core microprocessors and 3D graphics capabilities."

Submission + - Harsh Words From Google On Linux Development ( 1

jeevesbond writes: "The alpha version of Google Chrome is now available for GNU/Linux. Google Chrome developer and former Firefox lead Ben Goodger has some problems with the platform though. His complaints range from the lack of a standardised UI toolkit, inconsistencies across applications, the lack of a unified and comprehensive HIG, to GTK not being a very compelling toolkit. With Adobe getting twitchy about the glibc fork and previously describing the various audio systems as welcome to the jungle, is it time to concentrate on consolidation and standardisation in GNU/Linux in general, and the desktop in particular?"

Comment Re:Water means life? (Score 1) 104

There are at least 3 ways to search for Matrioshka Brains.

1. Mid-to-Far IR surveys. But they require liquid He cooling and don't last very long. The last good survey that was done was with the IRAS satellite in 1983. I first started to look at that data about 7 years ago but had to set it aside for more pressing priorities. Richard Carrigan, is a Physicist at Fermilab and has recently done the work of going through the data and has some interesting candidates [1]. But he is searching for Dyson Shells (improperly named "Dyson Spheres") and is using somewhat different parameters for his search (Matrioshka Brains do not have "liquid water" and Earth like temperatures that the habitats envisioned by Dyson need.) A very mature Matrioshka Brain can be very large and have a temperature approaching the ambient environment (in most of the universe ~3-20K). The IRAS data was obviously not intended for reconstructing black body curves of objects. To improve this physicists could put more effort into the development of massive IR detector arrays (bolometers or similar) with millions of "pixels" and launch a "permanent" IR survey satellite (or plan a "permanent" IR observatory, perhaps on the back side of the moon).

2. Convince the gravitational microlensing astromers that some of the microlensing events they are observing could be caused by Matrioshka Brains (or Dyson Shells). I went to 2 international microlensing conferences in an attempt to do this and the microlensing physicists would hear none of it. (Whatever is causing the events must be "natural" and it must be something we have encountered before (K or M class stars for example) it *certainly* can't be the result of intelligent life forms from civilizations much older than ours.)

3. Start using the data from any of the surveys being done to do "occultation astronomy". This will kind of fall out of the searches for exoplanets as well as searches for near earth asteroids. But nobody to my knowledge is pooling information from multiple surveys over time to either track MBrains through a galaxy or determine the rate at which stars go dark (which sets limits on the abundance of civilizations making the transition from our (water phase based on "natural" evolution) state of development to a post-nanotechnology, largely machine/AI/uploaded phase where the civilization has a whole different set of constraints from what we typically consider. If my current efforts to produce pristine stem cells are as successful as I hope, then I may retire again and work on this part of the problem (by then open access to the astronomy databases and computers fast enough to deal all of the data may be available to make this work).

Another useful activity would be to get the "old school" SETI proponents together and convince them that the primary basis for most of their ideas (radio or optical signals) are completely out-of-date with the technologies that we know advanced civilizations will have (molecular nanotechnology and a huge amount of computational capacity at their disposal). Until one gets more people thinking along those lines then much of the efforts of SETI researchers and many astrobiologists may be misdirected. Milan Cirkovic is a physicist/astronomer from Yugoslavia who has published several papers over the last couple of years (one with me) attempting to promote re-thinking the "old" SETI perspective but its like trying to paddle against the current of a rather fast river.

Does that provide enough meat to allow me to keep the modded up status? :-)

Also, of interest for people might be Damien Broderick's collection of provocative papers "Year Million" loosely organized around what life might be like in the year 1,000,000. Several of the chapters, including one by myself, deal with the topic of Matrioshka Brains. I did not write the Wikipedia page on Matrioshka Brains, but have offered a few "steering" comments. That page has a link to my site which has the original ideas as well as a number of related sites.


Comment Re:If the phone company wants to charge... (Score 1) 300

the phone company is extending credit. They should make sure their customers can actually pay the bills they run up.. that's basic business 101. The credit card companies set CREDIT LIMITS on nearly every card they issue. Even hackers with stolen cards can only run up 2-3 times the credit limit of a card before it gets "full". Usually fraud is detected way before then. If the credit card company doesn't protect against fraud, then customers stop using credit cards!!! And they don't pay!!! The phone company has you over a barrel because you can't not have a phone... so they don't implement reasonable limits to the type of telephone user you are. You can't go anyplace else, and it's only their money at stake so they got all the time in the world to go after you for it.

My credit cards have limits, my cell phone has a credit limit... nobody extends me $50K in unsecured credit... except for my $30 month phone bill?

The Internet

Submission + - Webcam Suicide in Florida (

davidphogan74 writes: A teenager in the US state of Florida has committed suicide in front of a live internet audience. Abraham Biggs, 19, from Pembroke Pines, near Miami, killed himself hours after announcing his intention to do so on his blog. His family have condemned the website viewers and operators for failing to save him.

The footage has since been taken down and his father is now calling for more regulation of chatrooms.

It makes me wonder if they'll charge anyone with a TOS violation, like Lori Drew.


Submission + - Debian OpenSSL Exploit Proof of Concept Released (

SecureThroughObscure writes: "Security blogger and research Nate McFeters of ZDNet and Ernst & Young's Advanced Security Center reported today that HD Moore, creator of the Metasploit project, has released tools that demonstrate the weakness in the Debian-based OpenSSL implementation.

As HD states, "When creating a new OpenSSH key, there are only 32,767 possible outcomes for a given architecture, key size, and key type. The reason is that the only "random" data being used by the PRNG is the ID of the process."

HD also provides more details on the tools he created:

"This will generate a new OpenSSH 1024-bit DSA key with the value of getpid() always returning the number "1". We now have our first pre-generated SSH key. If we continue this process for all PIDs up to 32,767 and then repeat it for 2048-bit RSA keys, we have covered the valid key ranges for x86 systems running the buggy version of the OpenSSL library. With this key set, we can compromise any user account that has a vulnerable key listed in the authorized_keys file. This key set is also useful for decrypting a previously-captured SSH session, if the SSH server was using a vulnerable host key. Links to the pregenerated key sets for 1024-bit DSA and 2048-bit RSA keys (x86) are provided in the downloads section below.

The interesting thing about these keys is how they are tied to the process ID. Since most Debian-based systems use sequential process ID values (incrementing from system boot and wrapping back around as needed), the process ID of a given key can also indicate how soon from the system boot that key was generated. If we look at the inverse of that, we can determine which keys to use during a brute force based on the target we are attacking. When attempting to guess a key generated at boot time (like a SSH host key), those keys with PID values less than 200 would be the best choices for a brute force. When attacking a user-generated key, we can assume that most of the valid user keys were created with a process ID greater than 500 and less than 10,000. This optimization can significantly speed up a brute force attack on a remote user account over the SSH protocol.

In the near future, this site will be updated to include a brute force tool that can be used quickly gain access to any SSH account that allows public key authentication using a vulnerable key. The keys in the data files below use the following naming convention:

/ Algorithm / Bits / Fingerprint-ProcessID and / Algorithm / Bits /"

Very interesting, and as McFeters stated, impressively quick turn around time by HD on this.



Submission + - 20% in U.S. have never sent an e-mail, survey says (

BobB-NW writes: Roughly one-fifth of all U.S. households are disconnected from the Internet and have never used e-mail, according to research firm Parks Associates. A recent phone survey of U.S. households by Parks found 20 million households are without Internet access, approximately 18% of all U.S. households. "Many people just don't see a reason to use computers and do not associate technology with the needs and demands of their daily lives," said Parks' director of research.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Linux is for unexperienced users according to ASUS 1

feranick writes: ASUS will be soon launching the eeePC with the larger screen and the choice between Linux or Windows. While this is nothing new, reading the announcement one cannot miss to notice the target of each OS. Surprizingly, the Linux eeePC is targeted to unexperienced user, while MS Windows for those "experienced" Windows users. I guess this explains why the Windows version come with a "fully featured" (and probably ad-sponsored) version of MS Works. No mention that the Linux version comes with a really fully-featured OpenOffice suite. Maybe unesperienced users don't really need that afterall. Or is it to make sure the Windows-based eeepc doesn't look bad in comparison with the Linux version? From the article:

"The Microsoft Windows version allows more experienced users to seamlessly utilize the Eee PC through the familiar Windows interface, and incorporates Windows Live features like Windows Live Messenger for instant messaging; and Windows Live Mail for consolidated email accounts on the users desktop. Complementing this is Microsoft Works, which equips the user with numerous office applications to work efficiently.

The Linux version is useful for users who desire an icon-driven and easy point-and-click interface. Well suited for children or users without any computer experience, it provides a fast boot-up time- ideal for fast Internet access while waiting for public transport, or taking notes on-the-go."

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.