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Submission + - Cluster of 35 Ancient Pyramids and Graves Discovered in Sudan

An anonymous reader writes: About 2,000 years ago, a kingdom named Kush flourished in what is now known as Sudan. Sharing a border with Egypt, the people of Kush were highly influenced by the other civilization. The result was that they built pyramids: lots of them. At one particular site known as Sedeinga, pyramid building continued for centuries. Now archaeologists have unearthed at least 35 of these small pyramids along with graves.

Submission + - U.S. Customs Has Shared License Plate Data With Insurance Companies (

An anonymous reader writes: It may come as little surprise that every time you cross the border, cameras record your license plate number and feed it into a database of driver locations. More disturbing, perhaps, is the fact that the government seems to share that automobile surveillance data with an unexpected third party: insurance companies.

Submission + - U.S. Customs Has Shared License Plate Data With Insurance Companies (

An anonymous reader writes: It may come as little surprise that every time you cross the border, cameras record your license plate number and feed it into a database of driver locations. More disturbing, perhaps, is the fact that the government seems to share that automobile surveillance data with an unexpected third party: insurance companies.

Submission + - Meet Elvis: The robot that interrogates people traveling across the border (

colinneagle writes: Even though it's been 35 years, some folks have a specific King of Rock-n-Roll in mind when they hear the name "Elvis." However you might have a case of the Jailhouse Rock blues if the new Elvis catches you in a lie. That's because this Elvis is AI; an android behind a touchscreen who questions people on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border (CBP) Protection to analyze potentially suspicious behavior and to predict threats. He's an Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) kiosk.

Tucson News reported that there are not enough CBP agents to handle all of the Trusted Traveler Program applications that require face-to-face interviews. It works by using sensors "to screen passengers for unusual physiological responses to questioning — which can indicate a subject is lying," according to CNN.

  It's not what you answer, but how you answer. Are you upset or fidgeting? CNN reported that it "uses three sensors to assess physiological responses: a microphone, which monitors vocal quality, pitch and frequency; an infrared camera, which looks at pupil dilation and where the eyes focus; and a high-definition camera recording facial expressions."

Social Networks

Submission + - Reddit Was Built By A Horde of Fake Accounts (

derekmead writes: How, exactly, did Reddit get so big? Well, according to Reddit cofounder Steve Huffman, in the early days the Reddit crew just faked it ‘til they made it. In a video for Udacity, an online source for education and lectures, Huffman describes how the first Redditors populated the site’s content with tons of fake accounts.

These days, with the site’s users wary of people using expendable accounts to try to seed their own content, it seems nuts that an army of fakers would be seeding content all over the site. But early on, Huffman said that using fake accounts driven by the founders was key to building the tone they wanted to the site. Basically, by populating the site with accounts whose strings they pulled, the Reddit crew could shape the discourse and sharing of the site in the direction they wanted, and as the real user base grew, those standards held, allowing the fake accounts to fade away.


Submission + - Are LEDs the Solution for Light Pollution? (

ambermichelle writes: We tend to romanticize the glow that emanates from city lights. We don’t often realize that any light that goes into the sky represents wasted energy, about $2.2 billion per year according to one popular estimate. Not only does light pollution run up electric bills and create carbon emissions, it interferes with ecosystems and obscures our view of the heavens. This is a problem we have brought on ourselves. Fortunately, lighting technology can solve many of these problems. We asked GE’s outdoor lighting guru Tim Miller about how smarter lighting can bring back the night sky. His solution: LEDs. Light emitting diodes use about 70 percent less energy than the most common outdoor lighting technologies. They also reduce four components of light pollution: high light levels, uplight, trespass light and glare.

Submission + - Windows 8 Will Run From USB Thumb Drive ( 1

CWmike writes: "Windows 8 will include a new feature that lets IT administrators provide workers with a portable Windows environment on a USB thumb drive. Called 'Windows To Go,' the feature seems aimed at enterprises that want to equip employees with 'complete managed Windows images' that they can use to turn a PC into a doppelganger of a secured in-house machine. It's not known whether individuals will be able to use Windows To Go for the same purpose. It's also unclear whether Windows to Go comes with a price tag: One report, based on a briefing with reporters at BUILD on Monday, said that the feature will cost about $50 per seat. Microsoft declined to provide more information about the feature, other then to refer to its a two-and-a-half-hour demonstration of some of the operating system's key components and changes that left many questions about Windows 8 unanswered, analysts said."

Submission + - EA Buys PopCap in Deal Worth Up to $1.3 Billion (

donniebaseball23 writes: Weeks ago, rumors were that Electronic Arts had stepped up to the plate to buy mobile/casual gaming publisher PopCap, developer of titles such as Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies. Today, EA has confirmed that it has purchased PopCap for a final sum of $650 million and $100 million in shares of EA common stock. There's also the possibility for up to $550 million in earn-outs for hitting 2013 financial milestones. That would bring the price to a whopping $1.3 billion. "We picked EA because they have recast their culture around making great digital games," said David Roberts, CEO of PopCap. "By working with EA, we'll scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience."

Submission + - Bill Could Land YouTube LipSynch Artists In Prison (

plastick writes: Senate Bill 978, a bipartisan measure introduced last month by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.), is backed by supporters who say it closes glaring loopholes in current copyright infringement law created by the realities of the digital age.

“As technology rapidly evolves, our laws must be updated to protect creativity and innovation,” said a statement by Cornyn.

But critics say a section of the bill provides for steep penalties — up to five years in prison — for “publicly performing” copyrighted material and embedding the video to sites like YouTube.

“It seems like (the bill) is attacking the core of the Internet itself, which is to promote communication amongst people all over the world,” said Hemanshu “Hemu” Nigam, a former White House counsel for online protection and the founder of the online safety advisory firm SSP Blue.


Submission + - Facebook Gets Naughty

G04T writes: If you have a Facebook account, here's an interesting little tidbit. Change your language to 1337 5p34k and then go view the profile of a married friend. Where it used to say "h1d1ng pr0n from" (or something very close to it) now it says "fuck1ing". So my question, is it a disgruntled coder somewhere or did Facebook get ::gasp:: h4x0red?? And how long will it take to get fixed?
The Courts

Submission + - Federal courts to begin first digital video pilot (

coondoggie writes: "Federal district courts have been prohibited from allowing any sort of electronic dissemination of trials since 1946, but that is about to change.

Fourteen federal trial courts and 100 judges have been selected to take part in the federal Judiciary's three-year digital video pilot, which will begin July 18 and will go a long way towards determining the effect of cameras in courtrooms."


Submission + - School District Hit With New Mac Spying Lawsuit ( 2

CWmike writes: "A former student at a suburban Philadelphia high school has sued his school district for allegedly spying on him and his family using a school-issued Mac laptop, according to court documents. The Lower Merion School District of Ardmore, Pa. was first sued in February 2010 by another student using similar charges. That case, dubbed 'Spygate' in some reports, was settled last October when Lower Merion agreed to pay Blake Robbins $175,000 and cover $425,000 in court costs. On Monday, Joshua Levin, a 2009 graduate of Herriton High, charged the district with violating his civil rights and privacy by remotely activating the notebook's built-in camera to take photographs and screenshots. On Wednesday, Lower Merion spokesman Doug Young called Levin's lawsuit 'solely motivated by monetary interests and a complete waste of the taxpayer's dollars.' Levin begged to differ. According to his lawsuit, Lower Merion used his laptop to take more than 8,000 photographs and screenshots between September 2008 and March 2009. A district report uncovered more than 30,000 photographs and 27,000 screenshots taken. Last June, lawyers made photos and screenshots available for viewing by the 76 affected students. 'Plaintiff opted to view the recovered images, and was shocked, humiliated and severely emotionally distressed at what he saw,' Levin's lawsuit stated."

Submission + - AT&T builds battery friendly smartphone apps (

Julie188 writes: "Who doesn't love Pandora Radio? But listening to it on a smartphone, especially an Android phone, seems like the fastest way to kill the battery. A group of researchers at AT&T Labs are calling on app makers to fix such problems by building more energy-aware apps. Not surprisingly, Pandora is one of their test subjects. (Facebook is another). They have developed a tool that helps app developers figure out when their apps really need full power connections (download speeds of around 7.1 Mbits/sec) or when the app can by on a proposed "intermediate state", which consumes half the power and transmits less data at a slower speed, typically by sharing a low-speedchannel, (typically 16 kbps)."

Submission + - Google Redirects Traffic to Avoid Kazakh Demands (

pbahra writes: "Google has rejected attempts by the Kazakh government "to create borders on the web" and has refused a demand to house servers in the country after an official decree that all Internet domains ending with the domain suffix for Kazakhstan ,".kz", be domestically based. Bill Coughran, Google senior vice president said in his blog that from now on, Google will redirect users that visit to in Kazakh:" We find ourselves in a difficult situation: creating borders on the web raises important questions for us not only about network efficiency but also about user privacy and free expression. If we were to operate only via servers located inside Kazakhstan, we would be helping to create a fractured Internet." Mr. Coughran said that unfortunately, it would mean that Kazakh users would have a poorer experience as results would no longer be customized for the former Soviet republic."

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller