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Comment: Re:Mesh networking (Score 1) 141

by jerel (#49581743) Attached to: Ham Radio Fills Communication Gaps In Nepal Rescue Effort
I think his point was that the majority of new hams no longer construct their own radios from scratch. They buy them commercially made, and the new radios are no more serviceable than your cellphone or any other modern surface-mounted-components electronic device. I don't think he meant commercial as in, commercial band radios. But I could be wrong.

Comment: Re:Again? (Score 1) 141

by jerel (#49581653) Attached to: Ham Radio Fills Communication Gaps In Nepal Rescue Effort
Since you posted as AC I'll say this. You must be an older Ham who got his ticket "back in the day" when you had to know morse code and had to design a radio circuit from scratch during your examan, and now you resent the ease with which an Amateur Radio license can be obtained. There have always been jerks in every endeavor. Why, you may not believe this, but there are even a few here on Slashdot! The FCC continues to cut funding for enforcement, so more and more we hams have to police ourselves. So, do that. If you have a couple of hams in your neighborhood who are violating rules, report them.

As far as getting all sanctimonious, when was the last time you really heard anything about what Hams did in a crisis, other than on vary narrowly focused outlets like Slashdot or Amateur Radio Newsline? It's not like we're parading in the streets crowing about our accomplisments. Just a little acknowledgement is all we want, and then only because Amateur Radio is largely invisible so people think it's dying. It's not. There are more licensed operators world wide now then ever before.

Get a grip, and get real. Seriously.

Comment: Oxymoron: Government Science (Score 1) 355

I know we have to try to make responsible laws for things like the environment, but when has the U.S. government EVER gotten science really right? "Hello, I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you." Right. We are up to our eyeballs in regulations, many based on bad science due to ignorance and politics, and many others based merely on greed and backroom dealings. So I'm all for transparency. President Obama utterly failed to actually provide any of the transparency he promised when he was campaigning, yet I am not sure this legislation is the way to do it either. Typically, the bill has all the trademarks of politicians who don't know anything about science or the scientific process trying to pass science legislation. There is more political relevance than scientific relevance to this, and some of it just wrong-headed. As stated in the article, "[S.544] would require EPA to base all its rules, assessments, and guidance on data that is ... reproducible" and then later states "many studies, such as longitudinal surveys, are not realistically reproducible" which means they would not be allowed to be used under these rules. I am suspicious of the agendas of all of the various elected officials who are discussing this bill. (FWIW, I am neither a Republicrat nor a Demopublican.)

Comment: Offshoring will replace H1B visas if necessary (Score 2) 407

If more controls are put in place, the work will simply move offshore. I work for a large financial institution, and they decided the best solution for technical labor was to build a large organization offshore, and these are not just call-center folks. These are highly skilled technical workers. And they are doing jobs that could easily be done here, but obviously for a lot more money. This way they avoid the overhead and headaches of H1B sponsoring altogether. Not saying it hasn't and doesn't happen in this company. But the offshore labor is a lot less expensive, and to some, that is of primary importance.

Comment: Re:Cut My COmputing eye teeth on the original (Score 1) 92

by jerel (#49375055) Attached to: Rebuilding the PDP-8 With a Raspberry Pi
Too bad you posted as AC. Were you involved with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in Orange County, California in the 70's? I ask because that was my first computer too, and the configuration you mention was the same as ours. Not sure how many other TSS-8 systems there were, but I think the bulk of them did not. I went to Newport Harbor High, and was a system administrator (we called them System Managers) for a year or so.

Comment: Eventually, up to 6 bands in one radio! (Score 2) 135

by jerel (#49133363) Attached to: Developers Disclose Schematics For 50-1000 MHz Software-Defined Transceiver
I went through the whole presentation, and I really want one! I live in California, and we use the 1.25m band (220 MHz) a lot in my area. Nobody includes this band, even in the big expensive All-Band All-Mode mobile radios. You can get a single-band radio, but I don't drive a van or a truck, and my space for radios in the car is strictly limited. I would love to have one tri-band radio with 2m, 1.25m, and 70cm (144, 220, and 440 MHz) bands without using a transverter, and be able to do SSB on 2m. Now THAT would be a radio to have! I already have an SDR, one of the of the greatest radios on the market, the Elecraft K3, and I love it! With this I could have a fantastic mobile and another for base. Very cool! 73, WT6G

Comment: Re:HT? (Score 1) 135

by jerel (#49133167) Attached to: Developers Disclose Schematics For 50-1000 MHz Software-Defined Transceiver
They are the same thing. Relax. I suspect the true first occurence of the abbreviation HT to mean "handheld transceiver" or "Handie-Talkie" is lost in the mists of time. The Handie Talkie was probably the first two-way-voice handheld transciever, and it entered service in the US military in about 1941. I have always heard HT means "Handie Talkie" but it obviously means "handheld transceiver" too. FWIW, the term "Walkie Talkie" referred to a radio that was so big it lived in a backpack the radioman had to lug around. It was self-contained so you could walk around with it. The Handie Talkie was a huge improvement, and is the handheld radio you see the US Army soldiers using in all the old WWII movies. 73, WT6G

+ - Grinch Vulnerability Could Put a Hole In Your Linux Stocking->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett writes: In a blog post Tuesday, security service provider Alert Logic warned of a Linux vulnerability, named grinch after the well-known Dr. Seuss character, that could provide attackers with unfettered root access. The fundamental flaw resides in the Linux authorization system, which can inadvertently allow privilege escalation, granting a user full administrative access. Alert Logic warned that Grinch could be as severe as the Shellshock flaw that roiled the Internet in September.
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+ - Genetic study reveals surprising ancestry of many Americans-> 1

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: In the United States, almost no one can trace their ancestry back to just one place. And for many, the past may hold some surprises, according to a new study. Researchers have found that a significant percentage of African-Americans, European Americans, and Latinos carry ancestry from outside their self-identified ethnicity. The average African-American genome, for example, is nearly a quarter European, and almost 4% of European Americans carry African ancestry.
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Techdirt: The MPAA's Secret Plan To Reinterpret The DMCA Into A Vast Censorship Machine Th->

From feed by feedfeeder
Yes, all the attention these days about the Sony hack is on the decision to not release The Interview, but it still seems like the big story to come out of the hack is the sneaky plans of the MPAA in its bizarre infatuation with attacking the internet. We've already covered the MPAA's questionably cozy relationship with state Attorneys General (to the point of both funding an investigation into Google and writing documents for those AGs to send in their names), as well as the continued focus on site blocking, despite an admission that the MPAA and the studios still don't have the slightest clue about the technology implications of site blocking.

Last week, TorrentFreak noted the various options that were under discussion by the MPAA for blocking sites, and now The Verge has published more information, including the analysis by MPAA's favorite hatchetmen lawyers at Jenner & Block about how site blocking might work in practice [pdf] by breaking DNS.

For years, actual technology experts have explained why DNS blocking is a really bad idea , but the MPAA just can't let it go apparently. It's just, this time, it's looking for ways to do it by twisting existing laws, rather than by getting a new SOPA-like law passed.

To understand the plan, you have to first understand the DMCA section 512, which is known as the safe harbor section, but which includes a few different sections, with different rules applying to different types of services. 512(a) is about "transitory digital network communications" and basically grants very broad liability protection for a network provider who isn't storing anything -- but just providing the network. There are good reasons for this, obviously. Making a network provider liable for traffic going over the network would be a disaster for the internet on a variety of levels.

The MPAA lawyers appear to recognize this (though they make some arguments for getting around it, which we'll get to in a follow-up post), but they argue that a specific narrow attack via DMCA might be used to force ISPs to break the basic internet by disabling entries in their own DNS databases. The trick here is twisting a different part of the DMCA, 512(d), which is for "information location tools." Normally, this is what's used against search engines like Google or social media links like those found on Twitter. But the MPAA argues that since ISPs offer DNS service, that DNS service is also an "information location tool" and... ta da... that's how the MPAA can break DNS. The MPAA admits that there's an easy workaround for end-users -- using third-party DNS providers like OpenDNS or Google's DNS service -- but many users won't do that. And the MPAA would likely go after those guys as well.

At the same time, even this narrow limitation on ISPs’ immunity could have the salutary effect of requiring ISPs to respond to takedown notices by disabling DNS lookups of pirate sites through the ISPs’ own DNS servers, which is not currently a general practice. Importantly, the argument for such a requirement need not turn on the Communications Act, but can instead be based on the DMCA itself, which expressly limits ISPs’ immunity to each “separate and distinct” function that ISPs provide. See 17 U.S.C. 512(n). A reasonable argument can be made that DNS functionality is an “information location tool” as contemplated by DMCA Section 512(d) and, therefore, that ISPs are required, as a condition of the safe harbor, to cease connecting users to known infringing material through their own DNS servers. Should this argument hold – and we believe that it has a reasonable prospect of success – copyright owners could effectively require ISPs to implement a modest (albeit easily circumvented) form of DNS-based site blocking on the basis of only a takedown notice rather than litigation.
In short, since DMCA takedown notices apply to "information location tools," but not to "transitory network communications," the MPAA would like to argue that just the DNS lookup functionality is an information location tool -- and can thus be censored with just a takedown notice. This is both really slimy (though brilliant in its nefariousness) and insanely dangerous for the internet and free speech . We see so many bogus DMCA takedowns of basic content today, and here the MPAA is looking to effectively, and sneakily expand that to whole sites by misrepresenting the law (badly).

DNS is not an "information location tool" in the sense of a search engine. It's the core underpinning of how much of the internet works. At no point in the 16 years the DMCA has been around has anyone made an argument that the DNS system was covered by the "information location tools" definition. Because that's clearly not what it was written to cover. The MPAA's lawyers (in this "confidential" memo) appear to recognize that this argument doesn't fully make sense because of that, but they seem to think it's worth a go:

To be sure, the argument is not guaranteed to succeed, as unlike a “pointer” or “hyperlink text,” DNS provides a user’s browser with specific information (IP routing information) that the user has requested by other means (alphanumeric internet addresses), as opposed to providing the user with an active interface allowing the user to request information online, as they might from a clickable page of search results. But at least in the literal sense, DNS appears to fit within the list of Section 512(d) functions and a reasonable argument can be made that DNS is more like a “directory” than the provision of “routing” and should be treated accordingly under the statute as a Section 512(d) function rather than a Section 512(a) function.
Pushing this argument would raise many of the problems found with the original DNS-breaking proposal in PIPA/SOPA. It would raise even more serious questions about the First Amendment and prior restraint. Effectively, it would be moving the definition of "information location tool" down the stack, such that rather than requiring the removal of access to the specific infringing content, it would require removal of access to an entire site based on a single accusation of infringement. Someone uploaded an infringing video to YouTube? Under this interpretation, the MPAA can force Verizon to make YouTube disappear from the internet for all users relying on Verizon's DNS. The censorship implications are massive here, especially with no court proceeding at all. This wouldn't require anything in court -- just a single takedown notice, of which copyright holders send millions. Rather than sending all those notices to Google and getting them delisted from search, copyright holders could turn the firehose towards Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, and basically take down half the internet on their say so alone. Yes, sites could counternotice, but ISPs would have 10 business days in which they can keep sites off their DNS entirely.

The results would be insane.

And that doesn't even touch on the technical havoc this would wreak. As we've noted earlier, the MPAA admits it's not clear on the technical implications of this plan, but let's just point back to Paul Vixie's discussion of how SOPA/PIPA would break the internet by mucking with the core DNS functionality, no matter how it was implemented.

What this goes back to is the core purpose of DNS, which is merely to translate a URL into a numeric equivalent to connect. It's not an information location tool for helping people "find" information -- it's just the basic plumbing of how the internet works. It's how basically all pieces of the internet expect to work. If you put in a URL here, then DNS returns the proper IP addresses to follow through there. Breaking that, effectively fracturing the internet, and creating a patchwork of different DNS systems would create a huge list of problems not easily fixed.

And, yet, because the MPAA can't figure out how to adapt to the times, it appears to be willing to give it a shot. Because, hey, it's better than innovating.

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+ - Survey: No Consensus How to Curb Eroding Online Privacy->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: new survey says that as online privacy continues to erode, governments, technology workers and individuals will struggle to respond.

The report titled "The Future of Privacy," sponsored by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, was released Thursday and explores the future of digital privacy over the next decade.

It surveyed many privacy advocates, digital entrepreneurs, journalists and Internet pioneers.

Participants were asked to share their thoughts to a question put forward by researchers: Would governments be able to develop digital privacy policies that protected individuals but also allowed for business innovation by 2025?

Fifty-five percent of those responding said no while 45 percent said such a privacy infrastructure was likely to be developed. The study comes as the United Nations General Assembly is considering a measure calling on nations to respect a "right to privacy in the digital age."

Report authors noted several recurring themes among those participating in the study.

For those who were pessimistic about the future of online privacy, many concluded that, with so many different cultural perspectives and government policies on privacy, there was no way to create one global Internet policy.

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+ - This is why you're always getting lost->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Have you ever stared at a map on your phone, utterly confused, as your GPS cryptically directed you to “head east”? It turns out that the entorhinal region of the brain—an area best known for its role in memory formation—may be at least partly to blame for your poor sense of direction. According to a study published online today in Current Biology, this brain region may help humans decide which direction to go to reach a destination. In the study, participants explored a virtual, square room with four unique objects in each corner and different landscapes on each of the four walls. Once they were familiar with the environment, the volunteers had to navigate a series of paths from one corner to another while the researchers monitored their brain activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging. The entorhinal region has long been known to help people identify which direction they’re facing already, but to plan a route, navigators must also imagine the direction of their destination. The study showed that this brain region likely also has a role in decisions about which directions to face next to get where we want to go. And as the participants imagined their way through the virtual room, the researchers found that the strength of the signal from this region was directly related to navigational performance.
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