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Submission + - "PGP founder, Navy SEALs uncloak encrypted comms biz" ( 2

quantic_oscillation7 writes: "Phil Zimmermann and some of the original PGP team have joined up with former US Navy SEALs to build an encrypted communications platform that should be proof against any surveillance.

The company, called Silent Circle, will launch later this year, when $20 a month will buy you encrypted email, text messages, phone calls, and videoconferencing in a package that looks to be strong enough to have the NSA seriously worried."

"While software can handle most of the work, there still needs to be a small backend of servers to handle traffic. The company surveyed the state of privacy laws around the world and found that the top three choices were Switzerland, Iceland, and Canada, so they went for the one within driving distance."


Motorcyclist Wins Taping Case Against State Police 485

stevegee58 writes "Slashdot readers may recall the case of a Maryland motorcyclist (Anthony Graber) arrested and charged with wiretapping violations (a felony) when he recorded his interaction with a Maryland State Trooper. Today, Judge Emory A. Pitt threw out the wiretapping charges against Graber, leaving only his traffic violations to be decided on his October 12 trial date. 'The judge ruled that Maryland's wire tap law allows recording of both voice and sound in areas where privacy cannot be expected. He ruled that a police officer on a traffic stop has no expectation of privacy.' A happy day for freedom-loving Marylanders and Americans in general."

Alternatives To Paypal's Virtual Credit Card Service? 242

An anonymous reader writes "Paypal has quietly killed the Paypal plugin and the related virtual-card service. The service generated on-the-fly, one-time-use credit card numbers. When I called in and inquired about the service, I was told that the service has been discontinued, but may be relaunching something similar depending on interest. They are treating inquiries as a sort of petition, taking down names and contact info. The forums seem to be a lost cause, as no Paypal reps have replied to the numerous posts regarding virtual cards being discontinued. Does anyone know of a good alternative source of one-time-use credit card numbers?"

Submission + - Energy Recycling Artificial Foot Created (

MikeChino writes: It’s not easy walking on a prosthetic foot. Aside from the obvious difficulty of adjusting to an artificial limb, dragging around the weight of the foot exerts a lot of energy — 23% more than walking on a natural foot, to be exact. But a prototype foot developed by researchers at the University of Michigan makes it easier for amputees to move around normally by recycling kinetic energy generated while walking. There are other artificial feet that can mimic the ankle’s push-off, but they require big batteries and motors. Since the prototype device recycles energy, it only requires a small battery that uses less than one watt of power.

19th-Century Photographer Captured 5,000 Snowflakes 80

tcd004 writes "Wilson Bentley began photographing snowflakes in 1885, and managed to immortalize more than 5,000 crystals before his death in 1931. Now his images are widely recognized and highly sought after. At the age of 19, 'Snowflake' Bentley jury-rigged a microscope to a bulky bellows camera and took the first-ever photograph of a snowflake. Photography then, particularly microphotography, was much closer to science than art. In a 1910 article published in the journal Technical World, he wrote, 'Here is a gem bestrewn realm of nature possessing the charm of mystery, of the unknown, sure richly to reward the investigator." The video embedded at the link above touches on another long-forgotten piece of history: a sketch of the photographers who captured arial views of assemblages of tens of thousands of soldiers returning from WW-I, carefully choreographed and arranged to form a Liberty Bell, a Stature of Liberty, a US flag... as forgotten as the origin of the WW-I term razzle-dazzle.

"Loud Commercial" Legislation Proposed In US Congress 636

Hackajar writes "Have you ever caught yourself running for the volume control when a TV commercial comes on? Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has, and is submitting legislation that would require TV commercials in the US to stay at volume levels similar to the programming they are associated with. From the article: 'Right now, the government doesn't have much say in the volume of TV ads. It's been getting complaints ever since televisions began proliferating in the 1950s. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the "apparent loudness" of commercials.'"

The DIY Book Scanner 177

azoblue writes "Daniel Reetz did not want to lug around heavy textbooks, so he built a book scanner to create digital copies. '... over three days, and for about $300, he lashed together two lights, two Canon Powershot A590 cameras, a few pieces of acrylic and some chunks of wood to create a book scanner that's fast enough to scan a 400-page book in about 20 minutes (PDF). To use it, he simply loads in a book and presses a button, then turns the page and presses the button again. Each press of the button captures two pages, and when he's done, software on Reetz's computer converts the book into a PDF file. The Reetz DIY book scanner isn't automated — you still need to stand by it to turn the pages. But it's fast and inexpensive.'"

Reducing One Amino Acid Could Increase Lifespan 286

John Bryson writes "Eating less of one amino acid might lengthen your life. There have been lots of previous studies showing that many species live long on highly restricted calories, but a lot of this benefit may be possible by only restricting one amino acid. Amino acids that have shown this have been tryptophan and methionine. A recent study, published online December 2 in Nature, a highly respected journal, may help explain some of the health benefits of restricted-calorie diets."

Dell Defect Turning 2.2GHz CPU Into 100MHz CPU? 314

jtavares2 writes "In what is being dubbed Throttlegate, scores of users on many message boards have been complaining about nexplicably aggressive throttling policies on their Dell Latitude E6500 and E6400 laptops which cause their CPUs to be throttled to less than 5% of their theoretical maximums even while at room temperatures. In many cases, the issue can be triggered just by playing a video or performing some other trivial, but CPU intensive, task. After being banned [PDF] from the Dell Forums for revealing 'non-public information,' one user went so far as to write and publish a 59-page report [PDF] explaining and diagnosing the throttling problem in incredible detail. Dell seems to be silent on the issue, but many users are hoping for a formal recall."

Intel's New E-Reader For the Visually Impaired 111

serverguy writes "Intel will be releasing a win for all visually impaired members of society, a new device called the Intel Reader. It allows visually impaired people to take a snapshot of a newspaper, book, or magazine and have it read back to them. It's estimated that in the US alone there are as many as 55 million people who could make use of such a device. It comes at hefty price though: the paperback-sized device costs $1,499. The device contains a 5-megapixel camera and is powered by a Linux OCR system that converts text into spoken words. The device can hold up to 2GB of data, which would equate to around 600 snapshots. In addition to reading text, the device can also play back audio books in a number of supported formats such as MP3 and WAV. The Intel Reader is expected to be released next Tuesday." The device won't be speedy: "Intel says it takes about 30 seconds to process each page of text... It took... about 30 minutes to scan in the pages of a 250-page book and then one hour to process them."

Towards Artificial Consciousness 291

jzoom555 writes "In an interview with Discover Magazine, Gerald Edelman, Nobel laureate and founder/director of The Neurosciences Institute, discusses the quality of consciousness and progress in building brain-based-devices. His lab recently published details on a brain model that is self-sustaining and 'has beta waves and gamma waves just like the regular cortex.'" Edelman's latest BBD contains a million simulated neurons and almost half a billion synapses, and is modeled on a cat's brain.
The Internet

Your Online Profile Actually Tells a Lot About You 272

An anonymous reader writes "Despite all the media reports that your Facebook profile is giving the wrong impression, a psychological study shows people really can understand your personality from your online profile. Turns out you're not giving the wrong impression with your profile; you're giving the right impression to the wrong people. You can actually learn more about someone's Agreeableness from their online profile than from a first date."

Why Don't You Sleep On It? 318

thefirelane wrote to mention a New Scientist study that indicates your subconscious mind is a better decision maker than you are. From the article: "The research suggests the conscious mind should be trusted only with simple decisions, such as selecting a brand of oven glove. Sleeping on a big decision, such as buying a car or house, is more likely to produce a result people remain happy with than consciously weighing up the pros and cons of the problem, the researchers say. Thinking hard about a complex decision that rests on multiple factors appears to bamboozle the conscious mind so that people only consider a subset of information, which they weight inappropriately, resulting in an unsatisfactory choice. In contrast, the unconscious mind appears able to ponder over all the information and produce a decision that most people remain satisfied with."

Alzheimer's Progresses Faster in Educated People 226

Nrbelex writes "Bloomberg news is reporting that 'High levels of education speeds up the progression of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in next month's issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. Mental agility dropped every year among Alzheimer's disease patients with each additional year of education, leading to an additional 0.3 percent deterioration, the researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York found. The speed of thought processes and memory were particularly affected.'"

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato