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Submission Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer->

Lasrick writes: As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry, Reuters has learned.
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Wireless Networking

White Space Plan Would Reuse TV Spectrum 150

An anonymous reader writes "A collection of companies including Microsoft, Google and Motorola are teaming up for a new white space wireless network plan. The White Spaces Database Group, as it will be known, plans on formulating a plan to create, govern and maintain a wireless broadband network on abandoned analog television spectrum. When the spectrum is finally vacated in June, the group hopes that system in place which will allow for the creation of an open wireless broadband network which will be accessible by any device. The FCC officially approved keeping the spectrum open back in November, despite staunch opposition from telco firms."

Comment Python makes programming fun (Score 1) 962

Python really makes programming fun. I think it would be the perfect language to teach beginners, although I've been programming for decades, in a dozen different languages.

Mainly because Python is interpreted, not compiled, there is an opportunity for immediate feedback, and a level of interactivity that is just not possible with most languages. Entering commands directly into the interpreter console allows for a kind of "conversation" between student and computer that is only possible with an interpreted language. Expressions, function calls, little one-time "experiments", or demonstrations of a particular concept are not just possible, but easy and natural in Python.

Combine Python with the PyGame library, and I think you have a real winning combination for kids of all ages. PyGame gives Python the kind of juicy graphics kids will probably want to play around with once they understand variables and functions.

Python eliminates most of the stuff that clutters up languages like C, Javascript, and PHP. Python reduces the language syntax to the minimum required to understand by the concepts involved, in the clearest, simplest form possible, with a minimum of arbitrary punctuation marks used in unfamiliar ways.

It's also worth mentioning that in addition to being a really great, easy to learn, yet powerful language, Python is also free, open-source software. Check it out.

The Last DC Power Grid Shut Down in NYC 533

cell-block-9 writes "Today the last section of the old Edison DC power grid will be shut down in Manhattan. 'The last snip of Con Ed's direct current system will take place at 10 East 40th Street, near the Mid-Manhattan Library. That building, like the thousands of other direct current users that have been transitioned over the last several years, now has a converter installed on the premises that can take alternating electricity from the Con Ed power grid and adapt it on premises.' I guess Tesla finally won the argument."

The Mystery of Oregon's 'Dead Zone' 235

Roland Piquepaille writes "The area off Cape Perpetua on the central Oregon coast is now a gigantic crab and fish graveyard. It was first discovered in 2002, but according to the Christian Science Monitor, researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have taken a close-up look into this coastal dead zone. And things are getting worse. A few weeks ago, the researchers measured the level of dissolved oxygen in this part of the ocean. They found that levels were 10 to 30 times lower than normal, down to 0.5 milliliters per liter, a characteristic of hypoxia. And because they have no explanations about this phenomenon, they're even envisioning a total absence of oxygen, or anoxia. Read more for additional details and pictures about this mystery."

Adware Spreads Through Myspace 209

Sandbagger writes "Here's an interesting problem for MySpace — groups of websites that entice MySpace users into placing videos onto their profile pages (under the guise of 'free content'), without disclosing a key piece of information that might make them think twice. When someone visits one of these profiles carrying the video, a DRM acquisition box pops up and attempts to install Zango adware. In all likelihood, the profile owners don't even know these videos are doing this to their visitors. The end result is an Adware affiliate effectively removing himself from the distribution chain and letting kids promote these videos instead, in a strange example of viral marketing gone wrong."

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson