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Government

Microsoft Backs Away From CISPA Support, Citing Privacy 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the seeing-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing dept.
suraj.sun writes "CISPA, the hotly-contested cybersecurity bill making its way through Congress, has been supported by Microsoft since it was introduced. However, the company now tells CNET that any such legislation must 'honor the privacy and security promises we make to our customers,' while also 'protecting consumer privacy.' As you may recall, the U.S. House passed CISPA on Thursday. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the bill. Quoting CNET: 'That's a noticeable change — albeit not a complete reversal — from Microsoft's position when CISPA was introduced in November 2011. To be sure, Microsoft's initial reaction to CISPA came before many of the privacy concerns had been raised. An anti-CISPA coalition letter (PDF) wasn't sent out until April 16, and a petition that garnered nearly 800,000 signatures wasn't set up until April 5. What makes CISPA so controversial is a section saying that, "notwithstanding any other provision of law," companies may share information with Homeland Security, the IRS, the NSA, or other agencies. By including the word "notwithstanding," CISPA's drafters intended to make their legislation trump all existing federal and state laws, including ones dealing with wiretaps, educational records, medical privacy, and more.'"
Sci-Fi

+ - Darren Aronofsky to direct Wolverine 2->

Submitted by
bowman9991
bowman9991 writes "Darren Aronofsky, director of the excellent science fiction/fantasy film 'The Fountain' will direct 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2' Hugh Jackman has revealed. Christopher McQuarrie, the man behind the complex, twist filled crime thriller The Usual Suspects, is writing the screenplay. The origins story will star Hugh Jackman as Wolverine dealing with ninjas in medieval Japan. This sounds like a fantastic mix and could potentially help Wolverine 2 avoid the usual hollywood comic book superhero cliches."
Link to Original Source

+ - Electrified Water Filter Zaps Bacteria->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Yi Cui, an Assistant Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has invented quite the water filter. It’s inexpensive, is very resistant to clogging, and uses much less electricity than systems that require the water to be pumped through them. It also kills up to 98% of bacteria, as opposed to just trapping them, which is all that many existing systems do."
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Mobile Passwords: When 3 Is Better Than 1->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Entering passwords on smartphones is unnecessarily painful, says security research Markus Jakobsson. In addition to having to enter text on a tiny keyboard, there's no auto-correct feature, but there could be and it could be used securely if we use pass sentences instead of passwords. Consider the pass sentence 'frog work flat'. How secure is that? 'The frequencies of these words in the English language are 10 to the -5.13, 10 to the -3.20 and 10 to the -4.36. The combination therefore occurs with probability 10 to the -12.7 — the product of those three frequency values — or approximately 2 to the -42. That is a strong credential,' says Jakobsson."
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Science

+ - Who Owns You? 20% Of Your Genes Are Patented-> 1

Submitted by kkleiner
kkleiner (1468647) writes "Here’s a disconcerting thought: for the past thirty years, genes have been patentable. And we’re not just talking genetically modified corn – your genes, pretty much as they exist in your body, can and have been patented. The US government reports over three million gene patent applications have been filed so far; over 40,000 patents are held on sections of the human genome, covering roughly 20% of our genes. Upset? You’re not alone."
Link to Original Source

+ - Google purchases Episodic->

Submitted by mamedesign
mamedesign (1712628) writes "Google has got its 5th acquisition in this year. Episodic (video service) is drafted for helping out with the helping out of the Google owned YouTube video service. Episodic is a San Francisco based company, which was founded by Noam Lovinsky and Matias Cudich. This company describes itself as a comprehensive platform for broadcasting live and on-demand video to the web or any web-enabled device. Episodic made the announcement of this acquisition in a blog posting on this Friday."
Link to Original Source
Data Storage

+ - SPAM: WD Launches New, Faster 600GB VelociRaptor

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "With all of the press Solid State Drives are getting recently, it's safe to assume that R&D in spinning hard drives has declined. After all, hard drive capacities have seemingly hit a plateau at 2TB, performance can't come close to an average SSD, and it's hard to imagine hard drive prices falling any lower. However, Western Digital, despite releasing their own line of SSDs recently, continues to push the performance envelope with traditional hard drives. Today they launched the new WD VelociRaptor 600GB. Like the first-Gen VelociRaptor, the new 600GB variant employs a 2.5" form factor, with a 10K RPM spindle speed. This new VelociRaptor also has higher areal density per platter, more cache, a SATA 6Gb/s interface, and a dual-core controller; all features designed to crank performance up a notch or two."
Link to Original Source
Government

Finnish Court Dismisses E-Voting Result 114

Posted by kdawson
from the go-back-jack-do-it-again dept.
wizzor writes in with a follow-up on the Finnish municipal election in which 2% of the votes were lost by a defective e-voting system, and which the Helsinki Administrative Court had found acceptable. Now the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland has rejected the election results (original in Finnish; bad Google translation here) and ordered the election to be re-run. The submitter adds, "Apparently 98% of the votes isn't enough to determine how the remaining 2% voted, after all."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Valve Engineers Weed Out 'Lying' TF2 Game Servers 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the truth-in-fragging dept.
billlava writes "Tired of Team Fortress 2 servers that lie in order to attract players, engineers at Valve (creators of the Half Life franchise) have come up with a way to weed out servers that give false information about the number of players online, or custom server options. 'After kicking around some proposals, we came up with a simple system built around the theory that player time on a server is a useful metric for how happy the player is with that server. It's game rules agnostic, and we can measure it on our steam backend entirely from steam client data, so servers can't interfere with it. We already had this data for all the TF2 servers in the world, allowing us to try several different scoring formulas out before settling on this simple one that successfully identified good & bad servers.' Of course, this only works with their games running on Steam."
Censorship

+ - Australian police chief seeks terror reporting ban->

Submitted by DJMajah
DJMajah (738313) writes "News.com.au reports that Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty has called for a media blackout on reporting of terrorism investigations and cases before trial in a speech to the Sydney Institute last night. Although he doesn't believe public institutions be immune from public accountability, he goes on to say that public discussion should be delayed until information is made available by the courts or legal proceedings are complete. This all comes after last years widely reported case of Dr. Mohammed Haneef who was detained then later deported from Australia on evidence described as weak — and seen by some including Haneef as a conspiracy."
Link to Original Source
The Military

World's Most Powerful Rail Gun Delivered to US Navy 615

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the wanting-what-you-can't-have dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The world's most powerful functional rail gun capable of accelerating projectiles up to Mach 8 has been delivered to the Navy. The new rail gun is a 32-megajoule Electro-Magnetic Laboratory Rail Gun. The Navy eventually hopes to have 64-megajoule ship mounted rail guns. 'The lab version doesn't look particularly menacing -- more like a long, belt-fed airport screening device than like a futuristic cannon -- but the system will fire rounds at up to Mach 8, drawing on tremendous amounts of electricity to generate the current for each test shot. That, of course, is the problem with rail guns: Like lasers, they're out of step with modern-day generators and capacitors. Eight and 9-megajoule rail guns have been fired before, but providing 3 million amps of power per shot has been a limitation.'"
Education

Dvorak Slams OLPC As 'Naive Fiasco' 740

Posted by Zonk
from the snark-snark-snark dept.
theodp writes "PC Magazine's John C. Dvorak has a unique take on the cute One Laptop per Child XO-1, deeming the OLPC project a naive fiasco waiting to unfold that sends an insulting 'let them eat cake' message to the world's poor. When it comes down to a choice of providing African kids living in absolute poverty with access to Slashdot or a $200 truckload of rice, Dvorak votes for the latter. Buy ten OLPCs if it assuages your guilt, says Dvorak, but 'I'll donate my money to hunger relief.'"
Communications

+ - Skype caught out over video enhancement 'hack'->

Submitted by
superglaze
superglaze writes "When Skype signed a deal with Logitech to enable "high quality" video calls, what it didn't make clear is that an option already existed within Skype to manually boost video quality. But Skype removed the feature, possibly to protect its new partnership. Guess what? The users of that feature cried foul, and now Skype has been forced to do a U-turn, reintroducing the option to manually increase resolution. Surely a victory for the consumer, albeit of a free product. I wonder how this will affect Skype's ongoing problem with being profitable."
Link to Original Source
Intel

Intel Updates vPro Platform and Features 77

Posted by kdawson
from the chain-of-trust dept.
MojoKid writes "Intel's has certified the Core 2 Duo E6550, E6750, and E6850 processors for vPro, and is releasing the new low-power Q35 Express chipset with a companion ICH9-DO Southbridge, and 82566DM Gigabit Network controller. With these new chispets and technologies, the vPro platform offers next-generation Intel Active Management Technology, enhanced Intel Virtualization Technology, and Intel Trusted Execution Technology (aka Intel TXT). vPro also supports next-generation management standards like WS-MAN and DASH (draft 1.0 spec) and v1.2 of the Trusted Platform Module. Intel has plans to provide continual updates to the vPro platform and will likely enhance vPro further after the launch of their 'Montevina' platform in the first half on 2008."

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