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Earth

+ - Wind Map of US Will Blow You Away

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Talk about visualizations. Ever wondered what the wind would look like if you could see it in action from above? A new project posted online by a pair of Google computer scientists, called simply Wind Map, has to be seen to be believed. "It can be quite hypnotizing to watch the gusty trails blast across the American continent, skitter over the Sierras, get roughed up by the Rockies, and whoosh over the great plains on its way to Canada," writes Chris Taylor. Wind Map is the brainchild of Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, the co-leaders of Google’s “Big Picture” visualization research group in Cambridge, Mass. Wind patterns are constantly changing, of course, which is why the Wind Map designers have also given us a moving-image gallery of previous blustery days."

+ - City of Boston pays $170,000 to settle landmark case involving man arrested for -> 1

Submitted by
Ian Lamont
Ian Lamont writes "The City of Boston has reached a $170,000 settlement with Simon Glik who was arrested by Boston Police in 2007 after using his mobile phone to record police arresting another man on Boston Common. Police claimed that Glik had violated state wiretapping laws, but later dropped the charges and admitted the officers were wrong to arrest him. Glik had brought a lawsuit against the city (aided by the ACLU) because he claimed his civil rights were violated. According to today's ACLU statement:

As part of the settlement, Glik agreed to withdraw his appeal to the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel. He had complained about the Internal Affairs Division's investigation of his complaint and the way they treated him. IAD officers made fun of Glik for filing the complaint, telling him his only remedy was filing a civil lawsuit. After the City spent years in court defending the officers' arrest of Glik as constitutional and reasonable, IAD reversed course after the First Circuit ruling and disciplined two of the officers for using "unreasonable judgment" in arresting Glik.

"

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Crime

+ - Money Mules, Not Customers, The Real Victims?->

Submitted by
chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy writes "Threatpost is reporting on research from Microsoft that argues money mules — the accomplices who help move stolen funds — may be the real victims of online banking scams, not the bank customers who are the ostensible targets of fraudsters.

In a paper that turns conventional wisdom on its head, Microsoft researcher Cormac Herley and two co-authors argue that, mules, unlike fraud victims, are not protected by Federal anti fraud laws. And, unlike the criminals they work for, they are not beyond the reach of the banks or law enforcement. Further, as banks and other financial institutions have gotten better at tracing account takeover scams and reversing charges, it is the mules who pay the price: having funds extracted from their account to make the victim whole, assuming such funds are available.

"The thief is really stealing from the mule, not the compromised account, though that fact does not become clear until the dust settles," the researchers write.

Their conclusion: shoring up customer accounts (say, through stronger passwords) will have only limited utility in stemming fraud. A better approach would be to crack down on muling, denying fraudsters the critical link in getting money out of compromised accounts: a legitimate bank account that will take an illegal money transfer from a hacked account and turn it into a legitimate transfer to the fraudsters' account."

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Spam

Now Even Photo CAPTCHAs Have Been Cracked 340

Posted by timothy
from the given-enough-eyeballs dept.
MoonUnit writes "Technology Review has an interesting article about the way CAPTCHAS are fueling AI research. Following recent news about various textual CAPTCHAs being cracked, the article notes that a researcher at Palo Alto Research Center has now found a way crack photo-based CAPTCHAs too. Most approaches are based on statistical learning, however, so Luis von Ahn (one of the inventors of the CAPTCHA) says it is usually possible to make a CAPTCHA more difficult to break by making a few simple changes."
Software

+ - Who thinks Firehose software is working right? 6

Submitted by
NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "I find the Firehose software to be infuriating. It seems to have no 'stickiness' but constantly reverts to other views and searches than what I was looking at. I'm about ready to give up on it unless they tell me they recognize it's dumb and are doing something to make it work right. Am I the only one who feels this way?"
United States

+ - Personality Types Cluster Geographically

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "Drawing on a database of hundreds of thousands of individual personality surveys, psychologists have mapped the distribution of personality types across the United States and interestingly, America's psychogeography lines up reasonably well with its economic geography. Greater Chicago is a center for extroverts and also a leading center for sales professionals. The Midwest has a prevalence of conscientious types who work well in a structured, rule-driven environment. The South, and particularly the I-75 corridor, where so much Japanese and German car manufacturing is located, is dominated by agreeable and conscientious types who are both dutiful and work well in teams. Regions like Silicon Valley or the high-tech Route 128 corridor around Boston are home to concentrations of open-to-experience types who are drawn to creative endeavor, innovation, and entrepreneurial start-up companies. One potential explanation is that people migrate to places where their psychological needs are easily met or perhaps a process of selective migration drains the agreeable and conscientious regions of the most driven, most creative, and most mobile — only reinforcing their psychogeographic profiles, while magnifying the innovative edge in places where open-to-experience types concentrate."
Transportation

+ - Sideskirts Cut Truck Trailer Fuel Use by 15 %

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "Researchers in the Netherlands have created an improved aerodynamic shape for truck trailers by mounting sideskirts that can lead to a cut in fuel consumption and emissions of up to 15%. Sideskirts are plates that are mounted on the sides of trailers to reduce the air currents alongside and under the trailer reducing the air resistance. The sideskirts can be fitted to approximately half the trucks currently in use in the Netherlands and it is expected that the cost of fitting aerodynamically-shaped sideskirts will be recouped within two years. Road tests are also underway on boat tails mounted on the rear of trailers to produce a reduction in the wake, the vacuum and air currents that arise when the trailer is moving. In theory, a boat tail could also mean a cut in air resistance of 30%, with a fuel reduction of 10 — 15%."
Software

+ - Orrin Hatch - Software copyright violater-> 2

Submitted by
fudreporter
fudreporter writes "Wired.com has an article referring to comments Senator Orrin Hatch(R-Utah) made about downloading copyrighted material from the Internet... Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested Tuesday that people who download copyright materials from the Internet should have their computers automatically destroyed. But Hatch himself is using unlicensed software on his official website, which presumably would qualify his computer to be smoked by the system he proposes. The senator's site makes extensive use of a JavaScript menu system developed by Milonic Solutions, a software company based in the United Kingdom. The copyright-protected code has not been licensed for use on Hatch's website. "It's an unlicensed copy," said Andy Woolley, who runs Milonic. "It's very unfortunate for him because of those comments he made.""
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Wii

+ - Your Wii is now a Commodore 64 too-> 1

Submitted by
Wowzer
Wowzer writes "Games from the Commodore 64 home computer will soon appear on the Wii Virtual Console in Europe, with other territories no doubt to follow in 2008. Games will each be priced at 500 Wii Points. The first games set to appear are: International Karate and Uridium. From the article, a quote by Bala Keilman, CEO of Commodore Gaming: "The massive impact the Commodore 64 had on video-gaming is still evident today with many gamers remembering the computer and its games with great fondness. By working with Nintendo of Europe, we are ensuring that future generations of gamers can play some of the best and most popular titles that kick-started the computer games revolution and so keep the C64 legacy in gamers hearts.""
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Businesses

+ - SPAM: The web vs. U.S. Bank

Submitted by
destinyland
destinyland writes "Online information is creating problems for U.S. Bancorp. A new federal law lets customers opt-out of high-fee overdraft protection. In October a consumer site published an internal U.S. Bancorp memo, which inspired a Washington customer to confront a local manager who insisted that opting out was impossible. He ultimately received an apology from the bank's CEO — but two days later recorded the bank's tellers again wrongly advising customers that opting out was impossible. Now he's posted the audio recording online, targetting the $50 billion a year banks earn from their "courtesy" overdraft protection."
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The Almighty Buck

+ - SPAM: Giant, flying casinos poised for take off

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "George Carlin once said if you nail two things together that have never been nailed together before, some schmuck will buy it from you. That seems to be the case this week as the gambling industry is apparently mating with the jumbo aircraft world to create giant flying casinos. First, this week Airbus said it was holding talks with a number of customers interested in converting its superjumbo A380 — the world's biggest passenger plane — into a flying casino. Then the Las Vegas Sands Corp., this week it said it had purchased two L-1011 jet airliners and would be retrofitting to serve as private jets that will chauffeur gamblers to the company's Las Vegas casinos from Asia. [spam URL stripped]"
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Security

+ - Personal encryption tested in U.S. District Court 1

Submitted by Senior Frac
Senior Frac (110715) writes "A U.S. District Court is reviewing a case where a man has refused to give his encryption password over to authorities. This individual, from Vermont, is accused of having child porn on his laptop and is refusing to hand over his encryption password. His defense is one of self-incrimination. This ruling is one that is important beyond the child porn aspect into other, less onerous, cases, so I would encourage everyone to look past the scumbag defendant and at our own data."

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