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Submission + - Niceness May Largely Be Determined by DNA

An anonymous reader writes: Human kindness has traditionally been regarded as something people learn through experience, but scientists have discovered that some people are actually born with genes that predispose them towards niceness. Past research found that levels of oxytocin and vasopressin hormones influence how people treat one another, especially in close relationships.

Submission + - End of Windows XP support era signals beginning of security nightmare ( 1

colinneagle writes: Microsoft’s recent announcement that it will end support for the Windows XP operating system in two years signals the end of an era for the company, and potentially the beginning of a nightmare for everyone else.

When Microsoft cuts the chord on XP in two years it will effectively leave millions of existing Windows-based computers vulnerable to continued and undeterred cyberattacks, many of which hold the potential to find their way into consumer, enterprise and even industrial systems running the latest software.

Although most of the subsequent security issues appear to be at the consumer level, it may not be long until they find a way into corporate networks or industrial systems, Miller says.

Even scarier, Sarwate says many SCADA systems for industrial networks still run a modified version of XP, and are not in a position to upgrade. Because much of the software running on SCADA systems is not compatible with traditional Microsoft OS capabilities, an OS upgrade would entail much more work than it would for a home or corporate system.


Submission + - The #SciFund Challenge - linking scientists and th (

jearbear writes: "The #SciFund Challenge, created by two scientists at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Sytnehsis aims to get scientists to create research proposals that connect their science with a public non-academic audience. They've brought together 50 scientists, and just launched the #SciFund Challenge on RocketHub! Participants have collaborated on creating proposals with broad appeal, from biofuel catalyst design to the study of cellular cilia to deploying seismic sensor networks (that attach to your computer!). Beyond just the RocketHub site, participants have been using the project blog to discuss how this method of seeking funds is working for them and what it might mean for the future coupling of academic science and society through funding."

Submission + - Why Alaskan Pilots Refuse Safe-Flying Technology (

longacre writes: Primitive technology and a cowboy mentality might have been to blame for the deaths of former Senator Ted Stevens and now the legendary Alaskan bush pilot John Graybill. Jeff Wise writes: "What makes it especially bitter is that technology exists which could make flying much safer, if only pilots would use it. Unfortunately, the frontier mentality so prevalent among bush pilots is often resistant to relying on technological solutions. ... The major killer in bush flying is "VFR into IMC," short for visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions--in other words, a pilot who is navigating by looking out the window suddenly finds himself in clouds. ... Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, ADS-B, is a new technology that can prevent crashes. It relies on GPS receivers in each aircraft that broadcast their location to ground controllers and to other aircraft."

Submission + - Cyber-security expert: Diebold fraud in '02 in GA

scheming daemons writes: A leading cyber-security expert and former adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says he has fresh evidence regarding election fraud on Diebold electronic voting machines during the 2002 Georgia gubernatorial and senatorial elections. Read the story here:
The Courts

Submission + - Academics hack London's transport payment system (

no1home writes: New Scientist has an article up about a group of student researchers at Radboud University in Nijmegen who discovered a way to hack the chip used in Oyster cards which are frequently used to pay for public transit or to gain access to a building. What makes this interesting is a court decision allowing the researchers to publish their findings.

From the article:

But the court ruled that the university's right to publish was part of the freedom of speech and that the publication of scientific research on the chip's faults could help to take appropriate countermeasures.
"Damage to NXP is not the result of the publication of the article, but of the production and sale of a chip that appears to have shortcomings," the court said. (emphasis added)

While the U.S. legal system is based on precedent, it doesn't consider cases outside the country. I wish they would just this one time.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Will Amazon Get a Visit from the Tax Man?

theodp writes: "According to the WSJ, new questions are being raised about an audacious legal strategy has used to avoid collecting sales tax in eight states where it has warehouses or distribution centers. Despite operating hundreds of thousands of square feet of distribution facilities in the eight states, Amazon says it doesn't have any presence in them, arguing that it doesn't operate the plants — its wholly owned subsidiaries do. The law allows companies to set up subsidiaries that are legally separate entities, but courts can reject 'shell companies' whose sole function is to help avoid a tax obligation. The Journal notes that founder Jeff Bezos said in 1996 that he started the company in a small state, Washington, to avoid the sales tax consequences of larger states."
United States

Submission + - US IP hypocrisy: ignoring unwelcome WTO rulings ( 2

Eye Log writes: The United States is a big fan of leaning on other countries to tighten IP and copyright protection, but has a tendency to ignore its own obligations when it doesn't get its way. 'Two ongoing cases illustrate the point. First, the European Union is pushing for the US to change a pair of rules that it calls "long-standing trade irritants." Despite World Trade Organization rulings against it, the US has not yet corrected either case for a period of several years... Apparently, it's easy to get hot and bothered when it's industries from your country that claim to be badly affected by rules elsewhere. When it comes to the claims of other countries, though, even claims that have been validated by the WTO, it's much easier to see the complexity of the situation, to spend years arguing those complexities before judges, and to do nothing even when compelled by rulings.'

Submission + - CATS Open Source version not available any more (

libregeek writes: "CATS, industry's first Open Source Enterprise Applicant Tracking System is discontinued and it's no longer available for download. This was one of the worst marketing strategy by any Free/Open Source Software. After acquiring public acclaim as a quality software, Cognizo withdrew all the community activities and locked the source code. This was really a shocking news for the developers who were co-operating with this project. They used to have an active developer forum, bug tracking system and a downloads section for the Open Source version. However, they still offer a free hosted version of CATS for the end users."

Submission + - Open source has sec flaw every 1000 lines of code

Stony Stevenson writes: Open source code tends to contain one security exposure for every 1,000 lines of code, according to a program launched by the Department of Homeland Security to review and tighten up open source code's security. Popular open source projects, such as Samba, the PHP, Perl, and Tcl dynamic languages used to bind together elements of Web sites, and Amanda, the popular open source backup and recovery software running on half a million servers, were all found to have dozens or hundreds of security exposures and quality defects. A total of 7,826 open source project defects have been fixed through the Homeland Security review, or one every two hours since it was launched in 2006, according to David Maxwell, open source strategist for Coverity, maker of the source code checking system, the Prevent Software Quality System, that's being used in the review.
The Internet

Submission + - Xiph.Org Releases Statement Regarding Ogg in HTML5 (

xiphmont writes: "We at Xiph.Org have carefully crafted a response to the current brouhaha over Ogg being temporarily removed from the baseline of the HTML5 standard. We felt the need to respond, we just didn't see the need overreact on 'Internet Time'. This is a battle that has a long way to go and we all need to show our support for the W3C and their struggle to keep the standard unified and free of encumbered technology.

In case you didn't see the little link above, the statement is here."


Submission + - School Bans Valedictorian Honors to Protect Studen ( 8

Advocate123 writes: As a result of these ridiculous policies, gifted students are locked in a box of mediocrity. Students who dedicate their lives toward academics, and excel, are ridiculed by fellow peers. Even worse, disgraceful teachers force the best and the brightest students to be patient with students who neither demonstrate the effort nor intelligence to succeed. The boredom resulting from a lack of high expectations is painful to endure for many students. In Colorado this past Tuesday, the Boulder Valley school district engaged in the most recent example of insanity by baning valedictorian honors.

Submission + - MediaDefender Leaks Saga : unexpected outcomes ( 4

ShakaZ writes: Following the leaks of all the internal emails and later the source code of all the anti-p2p software of MediaDefender, the boss and an employee of the company have been arrested by the LA police. They are charged for illegal uploading with intent to deceive, bandwidth theft, and grievous misrepresentation.
More handcuffs there :

Due to the released emails, ThePirateBay have proof of infrastructural sabotage, denial of service attacks, hacking and spamming, for which they filed a complaint to the Swedish police. 10 companies of the music, movie and gaming industries are listed in the complaint.
More pirates here :

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we would all be millionaires. -- Abigail Van Buren