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Bruce Schneier vs. the TSA 741

Posted by Soulskill
from the sees-right-through-them dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Bruce Schneier has posted a huge recap of the controversy over TSA body scanners, including more information about the lawsuit he joined to ban them. There's too much news to summarize, but it covers everything from Penn Jillette's and Dave Barry's grope stories, to Israeli experts who say this isn't needed and hasn't ever stopped a bomb, to the three-year-old girl who was traumatized by being groped and much, much more." Another reader passed along a related article, which says, "Congressman Ron Paul lashed out at the TSA yesterday and introduced a bill aimed at stopping federal abuse of passengers. Paul’s proposed legislation would pave the way for TSA employees to be sued for feeling up Americans and putting them through unsafe naked body scanners."
Science

+ - Isaac Newton, Alchemist->

Submitted by
Pickens
Pickens writes "It wasn't easy being Isaac Newton because he didn't like wasting time: Newton didn't play sports or a musical instrument, gamble at whist or gambol on a horse. Newton was unmarried, had no known romantic liaisons and may well have died, at the age of 85, with his virginity intact. But, as Natalie Angier writes in the NY Times, it is now becoming clear that Newton had time to spend night upon dawn for three decades of his life slaving over a stygian furnace in search of the power to transmute one chemical element into another. "How could the ultimate scientist have been seemingly hornswoggled by a totemic psuedoscience like alchemy, which in its commonest rendering is described as the desire to transform lead into gold," writes Angier. Now new historical research describes how alchemy yielded a bounty of valuable spinoffs, including new drugs, brighter paints, stronger soaps and better booze. "Alchemy was synonymous with chemistry," says Dr. William Newman, "and chemistry was much bigger than transmutation." Newman adds that Newton's alchemical investigations helped yield one of his fundamental breakthroughs in physics: his discovery that white light is a mixture of colored rays that can be recombined with a lens. “I would go so far as to say that alchemy was crucial to Newton’s breakthroughs in optics,” says Newman. “He’s not just passing light through a prism — he’s resynthesizing it.”"
Link to Original Source
Books

+ - Confessions of a Used-Book Scanner

Submitted by
Ponca City, We Love You
Ponca City, We Love You writes "In a good example of how advancing technology, the internet, and informationally efficient markets can work together to create new niche opportunities for entrepreneurs, Michael Savitz writes how, armed with an a laser bar-code scanner fitted to a Dell PDA, he makes a living spending 80 hours per week haunting thrift stores and library book sales to scan hundreds of used books a day and instantly identify those that will get a good price on Amazon Marketplace. "My PDA shows the range of prices that other Amazon sellers are asking for the book in question," writes Savitz. "Those listings offer me guidance on what price to set when I post the book myself and how much I'm likely to earn when the sale goes through." Savitz writes that on average, only one book in 30 will have a resale value that makes it a "BUY" but that he goes through enough books to average about 30 books sold per day and earn about $1,000 a week in profit. "If I can tell from a book's Amazon sales rank that I'll be able to sell it in one day, I might accept a projected profit of as little as a dollar. The more difficult a book will be to sell, the more money the sale needs to promise." Savitz writes that people scanning books sometimes get kicked out of thrift stores and retail shops and that libraries are beginning to advertise that no electronic devices are allowed at their sales. "If it's possible to make a decent living selling books online, then why does it feel so shameful to do this work?" concludes Savitz. "The bibliophile bookseller, and the various other species of pickers and flippers of secondhand merchandise, would never be reproached like this and could never be made to feel bad in this way.""

Comment: windows binary compatibility? (Score 1) 466

by loki_tiwaz (#33856506) Attached to: Indian Military Organization To Develop Its Own OS

there is several projects aimed at running windows binaries, one of them being an NT clone, dos clones already exist and can be made to run windows dll's on top for an olde worlde windows, and of course wine. i personally hope what it will involve is a bsd core running a customised and advanced wine fork, i mean, considering brazil and several other countries are going linux and open source it would be stupid of them to not collaborate with their fellow rising industrial stars like brazil who iirc are moving their government IT over to open source. a 99.9% binary compatible framework to run windows apps would be beneficial for everyone who is not NATO, indeed i can imagine some of the more client-agnostic big tech contractors who help build military stuff would love to be able to sell their windows-targeted software to someone else... brazil, india and russia at least would all be interested, china is too closed to alliances in any way but who knows, if india gets their project off the ground and achieve their goal.

remember, a lot of those windows programs are now partially developed by indians... if anyone can make a fully binary compatible windows environment, it's india. they've been doing so much of american-based multinational corporations' development already they have a rich developer skills base.

Social Networks

+ - 71% of 1.2 billion Twitter "tweets" are ignored-> 1

Submitted by destinyland
destinyland (578448) writes "1.2 billion Twitter "tweets" were analyzed over two months by analytics company Sysomos, who concluded that a whopping 71% of them got no reaction whatsover — no online responses, and no Twitter "retweets". "Only a small number of users actually have the ability to engage on Twitter in a significant way," the researchers conclude, noting that just 6% of Twitter's status updates ever get retweeted (while 23% get a reply). And among those status updates, 85% have exactly one response, while only 1.53% of Twitter conversations are more than three levels deep — where a reply receives a response which then generates a second reply. "If a tweet is not retweeted in the first hour, it is very likely that it will not be retweeted," the researchers conclude, noting that 92% of all retweets only happen within the first hour (versus just 1.63% during the second hour). But one technology reporter suggests flaws in their sample of 1.2 billion public Twitter messages. "Presumably these don't include those made by people who only allow their tweets to be seen by selected users," the reporter argues, adding that the study overlooks the possibility of conversations continuing via Twitter's private "direct messages", or that follow-up conversation may occur privately via e-mail."
Link to Original Source
Science

+ - 90 Percent Of Human Being Not Human->

Submitted by
drmattnd
drmattnd writes "Scientists at the National Institutes of Health recently published an analysis of 178 genomes from microbes that live in or on the human body, and have plans to expand their reference collection to nearly a thousand genomes.

Dubbed the human microbiome, this set of fungi, bacteria, and viruses are known to outnumber human cells 10 to 1 and play a critical role in health and disease. According to Human Microbiome Project leader Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "We are only at the very beginning of a fascinating voyage that will transform how we diagnose, treat and ultimately, prevent many health conditions."

Published in the May 21 issue of the journal Science, "this initial work lays the foundation for this ambitious project and is critical for understanding the role that the microbiome plays in human health and disease," says Collins."

Link to Original Source

+ - Windows 7 update installs stealth WAT 7

Submitted by unassimilatible
unassimilatible (225662) writes "A Windows 7 update released on 9/30, KB2158563, claims to "resolve issues caused by revised daylight saving time and time zone laws in several countries. This update enables your computer to automatically adjust the computer clock on the correct date in 2010." The part not mentioned by Microsoft is that KB2158563 is a Trojan, the stealth payload being a WAT (Windows Activation Technologies) update that sniffs out cracked versions of Windows 7, and declares them not genuine, complete with black screen. Looks like MS is up to its old tricks again."
Security

+ - Government Randomly X-Raying Citizens->

Submitted by shahidg
shahidg (1613643) writes "You might want to think twice about going out the door from now on. Homeland Security is apparently now performing random x-rays on highways, border crossings and even city streets. The public can only hope that these random and uncontrolled doses of radiation being unknowingly administered on them will not cause any serious health effects."
Link to Original Source

+ - Plan to curb free software in EU-> 1

Submitted by bodski
bodski (1109235) writes ""Wikileaks has posted a file showing a plan to curb the free software in Europe.
This file shows that Jonathan Zuck, president of Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) –an organization with close ties to Microsoft–, and founder of Americans for Technology Leadership, had influenced the change of working documents of the European Union.
That lobbies to exert pressure against the government institutions under their interests no doubt, and this document published by Wikileaks is clearly demonstrated.
The document in question is a work project developed by experts from the European Commission. This document has been modified by the ACT and Comptia organizations that have been percolating in several working groups."

Wikileaks link to file: http://wikileaks.org/wiki/European_Commission_OSS_Strategy_Draft,_Mar_2009?TB_iframe=1&width=1000&height=540
Scribd copy: http://www.scribd.com/doc/38773615/Towards-a-European-Software-Strategy"

Link to Original Source

+ - GitFight compares user's GitHub contributions->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When you're browsing GitHub, you often come across new and interesting projects and the people behind them — visiting their profile page shows you plenty of information about their projects. But what the profile doesn't tell you is how popular they, and their projects are as a whole — how known, trusted, and interesting they are.

But how to determine this? Gauging trust and quality is difficult for a computer to do.

GitHub users don't live in vacuums — they are linked to other users through followers and repo watchers, and of course repo forks. This social data can be used to estimate a user's quality and trustworthiness, and also their volume of output.

Git Fight! combines a user's GitHub data into a single score which you can use to compare users."

Link to Original Source

+ - Neural Responses Indicate Our Willingness to Help

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Witnessing a person from our own group or an outsider suffer pain causes neural responses in two very different regions of the brain. And, the specific region activated reveals whether or not we will help the person in need. Researchers at the University of Zurich studied the brain responses of soccer fans and now have neurobiological evidence for why we are most willing to help members of our own group."

+ - Amazon Quietly Censoring Bookcovers 1

Submitted by Nom du Keyboard
Nom du Keyboard (633989) writes "It seems that Amazon has embarked on a new policy of quiet bookcover censorship. It's possible that they were spooked by this hit piece in Slate, or there may be some other reason, but bookcovers featuring even tasteful nudity have been removed from the "All Departments" general search. Of course they never made this a public announcement; books just started disappearing from their general search without notice. Authors and publishers are being left with two choices: 1) Redo the cover to remove the nudity. 2) Have your title relegated to only Erotica searches for now. Their alleged excuse is that some minor might accidentally stumble upon an offending cover, but this seems to overlook the obvious fact that even with the cover changed Amazon is still selling the same unaltered content to that, or any other, purchaser. And is this only the first step for them? So far this hasn't apparently spread to other eTailers such as Fictionwise, making it possible to compare erotic titles on the two sites and see the Amazon required censorship in the changed cover art. So how do you feel about Amazon setting these rules for everyone?"

This is the theory that Jack built. This is the flaw that lay in the theory that Jack built. This is the palpable verbal haze that hid the flaw that lay in...

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