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Submission + - Russia Offers $111,000 to Any Citizen Who Can Crack Tor Anonymity Network (

concertina226 writes: The Russian federal government is concerned about the number of people using Tor to anonymously surf the web in the country and has set up a competition to find a technological solution to solve the problem.

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) is offering 3.9 million roubles ($111,000, £65,370) to researchers who will "study the possibility of obtaining technical information about users and users equipment on the Tor anonymous network," according to a translated version of the proposal.

Submission + - What Charles G. Koch can teach us about campaign finance data (

Lasrick writes: Lee Drutman is a political scientist with the Sunlight Foundation who does terrific work. In this article, he attempts to trace campaign donations made by one of the Koch Brothers and discovers just how difficult it is to do: "The case of Charles G. Koch is a nice lesson in just how hard it is to determine who is breaking and who is abiding by campaign finance limits. It’s hard to make accurate tallies of individual aggregate campaign contributions when the Federal Elections Commission doesn’t require donors to have a unique ID, and when campaigns don’t always reliably report donor names. Given this, it is unclear how the FEC would even enforce its own aggregate limit rules. The FEC’s spokesperson told me that while the FEC welcomes complaints, it does not typically take enforcement initiative.: Really interesting read.

Submission + - Coming out of the closet with Trading Card Games

An anonymous reader writes: Well, I think it is about time to admit that there even some adults who like to play trading card games. It began back in school where it was cool to have the most powerful deck of cards. But from the age of 20 on it became a bit silly to meet in dark cellars where everyone seemed to be a lost soul. I just recently found the free online game Eredan iTCG which allowed myself to go on with my passion in private. So I hope this is helpful to everyone having a problem with their geekness. Cheers

Submission + - Ignorance of the Law Is OK for Law Enforcement ( 2

schwit1 writes: Carlos Miller, who runs the Photography Is Not a Crime blog, and veteran photojournalist Stretch Leford decided to test the photography rules in Miami-Dade's metrorail system. Before embarking on their test, they obtained written assurance from Metro Safety and Security Chief Eric Muntan that there's no law against non-commercial photography on the system.

The two didn't make it past the first station before they were stopped. Employees of 50 State Security, the private firm contracted to provide the metro's security, stopped the pair first. They then called in local police. The private firm and the police then threatened the two with arrest, demanded their identification (to check them against a terrorist watch list), demanded multiple times that they stop filming, and eventually "banned" Miller and Ledford from the metro system "for life" (though it's doubtful they had the authority to do so).

Miller's account here. Ledford's is here.


Cheap Incubator Backpack Could Reduce Infant Deaths 76

Boy Wunda writes "In just one six-month period in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2006, 96 newborn babies who were in need of medical care died before they could get help. In many developing nations, these deaths could be prevented simply by providing better ways for medical responders to transport infants properly over rough terrain and keep them alive until they can reach hospitals and clinics. Now, a group of Colorado State University seniors has designed and filed a patent for a medically equipped incubator backpack unit that they believe can reduce baby deaths in medical emergencies both in the United States and in newly industrialized nations."

Theora Development Continues Apace, VP8 Now Open Source 312

SergeyKurdakov writes "Monty 'xiphmont' Montgomery of the Xiph Foundation says the latest action-packed, graph- and demo-clip-stuffed Theora project update page (demo 9) is now up for all and sundry! Catch up on what's gone into the new Theora encoder Ptalarbvorm over the last few months. It also instructs how to pronounce 'Ptalarbvorm.' Ptalarbvorm is not a finished release encoder yet, though I've personally been using it in production for a few months. Pace on improvements hasn't slowed down — the subjective psychovisual work being done by Tim Terriberry and Greg Maxwell has at least doubled-again on the improvements made by Thusnelda, and they're not anywhere near done yet. As a bonus Monty gathered all Xiph demo pages in one place." Also on the video codec front, and also with a Xiph connection, atamido writes "Google has released On2's VP8 video codec to the world, royalty-free. It is packaging it with Vorbis audio, in a subset of the Matroska container, and calling it WebM. It's not branded as an exclusively Google project — Mozilla and Opera are also contributors. Builds of your favorite browsers with full support are available." An anonymous reader points out this technical analysis of VP8.

Lower Merion School's Report Says IT Dept. Did It, But Didn't Inhale 232

PSandusky writes "A report issued by the Lower Merion School District's chosen law firm blames the district's IT department for the laptop webcam spying scandal. In particular, the report mentions lax IT policies and record-keeping as major problems that enabled the spying. Despite thousands of e-mails and images to the contrary, the report also maintains that no proof exists that anyone in IT viewed images captured by the webcams."

Shuttle Reentry Over the Continental US 139

TheOtherChimeraTwin notes that the shuttle Discovery will land at Kennedy Space Center on Monday morning at 8:48 EDT. The craft will make a rare "descending node" overflight of the continental US en route to landing in Florida. Here are maps of the shuttle's path if is lands on orbit 222 as planned, or on the next orbit. says: " takes the shuttle about 35 minutes to traverse the path shown... Observers in the northwestern USA will see the shuttle shortly after 5 am PDT blazing like a meteoric fireball through the dawn sky. As Discovery makes its way east, it will enter daylight and fade into the bright blue background. If you can't see the shuttle, however, you might be able to hear it. The shuttle produces a sonic double-boom that reaches the ground about a minute and a half after passing overhead."
The Courts

British Chiropractors Drop Case Against Simon Singh 182

SJrX writes "Several sources are reporting that the British Chiropractic Association has dropped its lawsuit against famed writer Simon Singh. He had recently won a High Court ruling in his favour, but this had been open for appeal." Also covered at The Independent and at MacLeans. Singh had angered the chiropractors' trade group with his published claim that certain chiropractice treatments were "bogus."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Dirty Duty On the Front Lines of IT 166

snydeq writes "Jobs may be scarce in today's economy, but there's no shortage of nasty IT work — as the third annual installment of InfoWorld's Dirty IT Jobs series demonstrates. From the payroll cop to the coolant jockey to the network sherpa who has to squeeze into rodent-filled spaces and deal with penny-pinching clients, these seven jobs provide further proof that dirty duty abounds on the front lines of IT."
Hardware Hacking

NYTimes Visits Menlo Park's TechShop 36

ridgecritter points out this interesting article in the New York Times on TechShop, a membership resource (a.k.a. hackerspace) in Menlo Park, CA, for building stuff. "From hammers to 3-D printers and laser cutters. Fun!" Along similar lines, and also recently in the NYT, a quick on-the-train conversation with Bre Pettis of MakerBot.

No JavaScript Needed For New Adobe Exploits 187

bl8n8r writes "More woes for Adobe as a security firm creates a proof-of-concept attack that injects malicious code as part of the update process. The user only needs to click a dialog box to execute the code and no JavaScript is needed to launch the exploit. The exploit affects Foxit as well as Adobe Acrobat software. This exploit is made possible through the host software allowing execution of system binaries. Not clear if it's multi-platform, but seems plausible."

Submission + - Digg says yes to NoSQL, bye to MySQL

donadony writes: After twitter, now is Digg who decided to replace MySQL and most of their infrastructure components and move away from LAMP to another architecture called NoSQL that is based in Casandra, an opensource project that develops a highly scalable second-generation distributed database. Cassandra was open sourced by Facebook in 2008 and is licencied under Apache Licenses.
The reason of this move as explained by digg is that their primary motivation for moving away from MySQL was the increasing difficulty of building a high performance, write intensive, application on a data set that is growing quickly, with no end in sight. This growth has forced them into horizontal and vertical partitioning strategies that have eliminated most of the value of a relational database, while still incurring all the overhead

Submission + - The sinister side of Spotify (

Barence writes: Spotify has come from nowhere to be a huge, largely accepted part of the music industry furniture, but the economics of it all remain vague. One of the biggest questions is just how it can ever be profitable for the musicians themselves — one Norwegian artist claims it takes 1,793 plays of a track to make a single dollar, and Lady Gaga's entire Poker Face campaign allegedly resulted in her receiving $167 from months of continuous play on Spotify. Worse is that several smaller labels are claiming Spotify uploaded entire catalogues, not only without permission but after being expressly forbidden to do so. The Sinister Side of Spotify looks into it all to see just how the service is fast becoming the acceptable face of music piracy.

Submission + - Davenport Lyons Referred to Disciplinary Tribunal (

An anonymous reader writes: The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has referred Davenport Lyons (DL) to a disciplinary tribunal over its "bullying" letters to "suspected" illegal p2p broadband ISP file sharers. DL is an infamous UK law firm involved with protecting specialist intellectual property rights for the creative industry. In addition the SRA confirmed that Tilly Bailey Irvine Solicitors (TBIS) and ACS:Law had also been referred for a similar investigation, which could lead to the same disciplinary tribunal as DL.

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