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Heroic Engineer Crashes Own Vehicle To Save a Life 486

scottbomb sends in this feel-good story of an engineer-hero, calling it "one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time." "A manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program, Innes dodged the truck, then looked back to see that the driver was slumped over the wheel. He knew a busy intersection was just ahead, and he had to act fast. Without consulting the passengers in his minivan — 'there was no time to take a vote' — Innes kicked into engineer mode. 'Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,' Innes explained."

A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars 973

bonch writes "As an experiment, composer Jason Robert Brown logged onto a site illegally offering his sheet music for download and contacted hundreds of users, politely asking them to stop listing the material. Most complied, some were confused, and a few fought back. Brown chronicles a lengthy exchange he had with a teenage girl named Brenna, which provides an interesting insight into the artists' perspective of the copyright debate. He also responds to several points raised in comments to the article and says, 'I don't wish to be the enemy; I'm just a guy trying to make a living.'"

Facebook's Plan To Automatically Share Your Data 142

Giosuele sends in this excerpt from TechCrunch: "In anticipation of a slew of new features that will be launching at f8, today Facebook announced that it was once again making changes to its privacy policy. One of the biggest changes that Facebook is making involves applications and third-party websites. We've been hearing whispers from multiple sources about these changes, and the announcement all but confirms what Facebook is planning to do. In short, it sounds like Facebook is going to be automatically opting users into a reduced form of Facebook Connect on certain third party sites — a bold change that may well unnerve users, at least at first."

PayPal Freezes the Assets of 403

matsh sends word that PayPal has frozen the assets of From their Web site: "Paypal has as of 23rd of January 2010 frozen WikiLeaks assets. This is the second time that this happens. The last time we struggled for more than half a year to resolve this issue. By working with the respected and recognized German foundation Wau Holland Stiftung we tried to avoid this from happening again — apparently without avail." The submitter adds: "Hopefully we can pressure PayPal to resolve this quickly, since this seems like a dangerous political decision."

Bruce Schneier On Airport Security 582

the4thdimension writes "Bruce Schneier has an opinion piece on CNN this morning that illustrates his view on airport security. Given that he has several books on security, his opinion carries some weight. In the article, Bruce discusses the rarity of terrorism, the pitfalls of security theater, and the actual difficulty surrounding improving security. What are your thoughts? Do you think that we can actually make air travel (and any other kind of travel, for that matter) truly secure?"

Less Than Free 330

VC Bill Gurley has up an insightful piece on the strategy behind Google's releasing turn-by-turn mapping for free. He calls it the "Less Than Free" business model, and it is beyond disruptive. On the day that Google announced its new service, the stock in the two companies that had controlled the market for map data, Garmin and TomTom, dropped by 16% and 21%, respectively. (Those companies had bought Google's erstwhile map-data suppliers, Tele Atlas and NavTeq, in 2007.) "When I asked a mobile industry veteran why carriers were so willing to dance with Google, a company they once feared, he suggested that Google was the 'lesser of two evils.' With Blackberry and iPhone grabbing more and more subs, the carriers were losing control of the customer UI... With Android, carriers could re-claim their customer 'deck.' Additionally, because Google has created an open source version of Android, carriers believe they have an 'out' if they part ways with Google in the future. I then asked my friend, 'So why would they ever use the Google (non open source) license version?' ... Here was the big punch line — because Google will give you ad splits on search if you use that version! That's right; Google will pay you to use their mobile OS. I like to call this the 'less than free' business model. This is a remarkable card to play. Because of its dominance in search, Google has ad rates that blow away the competition. To compete at an equally 'less than free' price point, Symbian or Windows Mobile would need to subsidize." Gurley speculates that the company may broaden "less than free" to include the Google Chrome OS.
Social Networks

Scams and Social Gaming 95

TechCrunch is running a story about the prevalence of scams and shady monetization techniques in popular social games on Facebook and MySpace. As an alternative to buying in-game currency with real money, many games make use of lead-generation offers — letting players sign up for a trial service or take a survey in exchange for the currency. The system is rife with scams, and many game developers turn a blind eye to them, much to the detriment of the players and the legitimate advertisers — not to mention the games that rightly disallow these offers and fall behind in profits. The article asserts that Facebook and MySpace themselves are complicit in this, failing to crack down on the abuses they see because they make so much money from advertising for the most popular games.
The Internet

3 Strikes — Denying Physics Won't Save the Video Stars 284

Philip K D writes "Award-winning SF author and BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctorow has an editorial in today's Times of London. Doctorow elegantly eviscerates the basic injustice posed by the imminent Mandelson '3 Strikes' law in Britain. He makes the explicit observation: 'The internet is an integral part of our children's education; it's critical to our employment; it's how we stay in touch with distant relatives. It's how we engage with government. It's the single wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. It isn't just a conduit for getting a few naughty free movies, it is the circulatory system of the information age.' It is worth noting that Doctorow was influential in the creation of the Creative Commons. He has enjoyed considerable commercial success for his writings, owing in no small part on his insistence that his work be made available for unrestricted electronic distribution and copying." In related news, the UK's second-largest ISP, TalkTalk, is now threatening legal action if Mandelson's plan goes through.

Ultrasurf Easily Blocked, But So What? 74

Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes "A simple experiment shows that it's easy to find the IP addresses used by the UltraSurf anti-censorship program, and block traffic to all of those IP addresses, effectively stopping UltraSurf from working. But this is not a fault of UltraSurf; rather, it demonstrates that an anti-censorship software program can be successful even if it's relatively trivial to block it." Read on for Bennett's analysis.

Washington Post Says Use Linux To Avoid Bank Fraud 422

christian.einfeldt writes "Washington Post Security Fix columnist Brian Krebs recommends that banking customers consider using a Linux LiveCD, rather than Microsoft Windows, to access their on-line banking. He tells a story of two businesses that lost $100K and $447K, respectively, when thieves — armed with malware on the company controller's PC — were able to intercept one of the controller's log-in codes, and then delay the controller from logging in. Krebs notes that he is not alone in recommending the use of non-Windows machines for banking; The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, an industry group supported by some of the world's largest banks, recently issued guidelines urging businesses to carry out all online banking activities from 'a stand-alone, hardened, and completely locked down computer system from where regular e-mail and Web browsing [are] not possible.' Krebs concludes his article with a link to an earlier column in which he steps readers through the process of booting a Linux LiveCD to do their on-line banking." Police in Australia offer similar advice, according to an item sent in by reader The Mad Hatterz: "Detective Inspector Bruce van der Graaf from the Computer Crime Investigation Unit told the hearing that he uses two rules to protect himself from cybercriminals when banking online. The first rule, he said, was to never click on hyperlinks to the banking site and the second was to avoid Microsoft Windows."

Details Emerge of 2006 Wal-Mart Hack 66

plover writes "Kim Zetter of Wired documents an extensive hack of Wal-Mart that took place in 2005-2006. She goes into great detail about the investigation and what the investigators found, including that the hackers made copies of their point-of-sale source code, and that they ran l0phtCrack on a Wal-Mart server. 'Wal-Mart uncovered the breach in November 2006, after a fortuitous server crash led administrators to a password-cracking tool that had been surreptitiously installed on one of its servers. Wal-Mart's initial probe traced the intrusion to a compromised VPN account, and from there to a computer in Minsk, Belarus.' Wal-mart has long since fixed the flaws that allowed the compromise, and confirmed that no customer data was lost in the hack — which is why they did not need to report the breach publicly earlier." This intrusion happened around the same time that Albert Gonzalez's gang was breaking into Marshall's and its parent company, TJX. The MO was quite similar: researching and closely targeting the point-of-sale systems in use. But the article notes that "There's no evidence has seen linking Gonzalez to the Wal-Mart breach."
Media (Apple)

Why Won't Apple Sell Your iTunes LPs? 306

jfruhlinger writes "Over the weekend there's been a bit of controversy over the fact that Apple has effectively shut indie artists out of the iTunes LP market by charging $10,000 in design fees. But the real question is why Apple is in charge of designing the new iTunes LP at all, since the format is based on open Web design technologies. There's at least one iTunes LP already available outside the iTunes store. Why won't Apple sell it?"

100 Years of Copyright Hysteria 280

Nate Anderson pens a fine historical retrospective for Ars Technica: a look at 100 years of Big Content's fearmongering, in their own words. There was John Philip Sousa in 1906 warning that recording technology would destroy the US pastime of gathering around the piano to sing music ("What of the national throat? Will it not weaken? What of the national chest? Will it not shrink?"). There was the photocopier after World War II. There was the VCR in the 1970s, which a movie lobbyist predicted would result in tidal waves, avalanches, and bleeding and hemorrhaging by the music business. He compared the VCR to the Boston Strangler — in this scenario the US public was a woman home alone. Then home taping of music, digital audio tape, MP3 players, and Napster, each of which was predicted to lay waste to entire industries; and so on up to date with DVRs, HD radio, and HDTV. Anderson concludes with a quote from copyright expert William Patry in his book Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars: "I cannot think of a single significant innovation in either the creation or distribution of works of authorship that owes its origins to the copyright industries."

Why did the Roman Empire collapse? What is the Latin for office automation?