Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Submission + - Is this NEAST, or Seven Days in May? (

cknowles writes: In eight days, for the first time in the nation's history, all of the radio and TV stations in the country will be under the direct control of the federal government. At 2:00PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, the FCC and FEMA will commandeer the airwaves for a minimum of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes. For those of you old enough to remember CONELRAD or the EBS (Emergency Broadcasting System), they are the ones who broadcast that deafening tone while displaying a test pattern or "This Is Only A Test" slide. But in the 1962 book Seven Days in May, and the 1964 movie of the same name, the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were going to use this mechanism as the kickoff of a coup d'etat. Now, I have complete trust in the hierarchy of the military, and believe that they put their lives on the line every day to protect the health and welfare of the nation. But are you ABSOLUTELY sure of every component in the Command and Control system? IF the "Occupy" protestors were to be roiled to a fever pitch, become violent, and pose a clear and present danger to the nation's security, martial law could be declared and habeus corpus suspended. Then the protestors could be rounded up and interned. Finally, someone could suspend elections and the current bureaucracy could preside over the nation for the duration of the unrest. Does anyone else find this just a little unnerving? Or am I letting my Minor in Political Science get the better of me?

Submission + - Facebook Security By the Numbers (

itwbennett writes: "An infographic Facebook posted more to show the range and interconnections among its security measures also shows that, of the 1 billion Facebook logins every day, only .06 percent are compromised. Not all of those are cracked by someone else; it also includes some account problems that make Friends disappear, users can't get to their own data and other problems. 600,000 Facebook logins are compromised every 24 hours."

Submission + - Batteries again exploding in airline luggage (

SpuriousLogic writes: A United Airlines employee sustained minor injures after a battery shipped in a bag exploded at O'Hare International Airport, officials said.

The employee was taken to Resurrection Medical Center in fair-to-serious condition but officials said the employee sustained, "minor injuries", according to a Chicago Fire Department spokesman.

The explosion occurred as the employee was moving the bag and it burst open, hurting the man's arm, fire officials said.

Officials believe the incident was accidental and no criminal activity is suspected, officials said.

A United Airlines spokeswoman said while flights are not being affected passengers may experience delays retrieving their bags.

Transportation Security Administration officials said the item was checked in the C concourse of the airport. Police and FBI officials are on the scene and are investigating.

The owner of the bag is being interview by law enforcement officials. Officials said the bag was orginally checked in Houston, Texas and had a final destination at O'Hare.


Submission + - Microsoft Proposes Fix For E-Voting Attack (

Trailrunner7 writes: Microsoft Research has proposed a mitigation for a known potential attack against verifiable electronic voting machines that could help prevent insiders from being able to alter votes after the fact. The countermeasure to the "trash attack" involves adding a cryptographic hash to the receipts that voters receive.

Many verifiable voting systems already include hashes on the receipts, but that hash typically is of the ballot data for each specific voter. The idea proposed by Microsoft Research involves using a running hash that would add a hash of the previous voter's receipt to each person's receipt, ideally preventing a privileged insider from using discarded receipts to alter votes. The trash attack that the mitigation is designed to address involves election workers or others who might be motivated to change votes gathering discarded receipts and then altering those votes.

The Courts

Submission + - DHS Ignores Court Ruling to Take Public Comment on (

OverTheGeicoE writes: On Saturday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center announced that they filed papers in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to get the Department of Homeland Security to start its public comment process. In July the court ordered DHS to take public comment on airport body scanning, in accordance with federal law. The court allowed DHS and TSA to continue using scanners during the comment period. According to EPIC's filing the ruling against DHS became final on September 21 after EPIC's motion for a rehearing was denied. Since then, DHS has done nothing to comply with the order. EPIC wants DHS to release details for their public comment period process within 45 days. DHS is no stranger to the kind of notice and comment rulemaking that is being required of them. Earlier public comment on their Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which would have required draconian security on aircraft 10% of the size of a Boeing 737, did not go so well. They received 7400 comments 'vehemently opposed' to LASP in 2008 and 2009 and are still reworking the plan in response to the comments received. How will DHS manage the public comment period for body scanners, which directly affects many millions more Americans than LASP does? Would DHS prefer to take their chances in court, including an appeal to the Supreme Court if need be, rather than face the public over their body scanners?

Submission + - Are Power Users Too Cool for Ubuntu Unity? ( 3

darthcamaro writes: There are alot of us that really don't like Unity. Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth defended Unity today, arguing that even 'cool' power users should like usability and ease of use. Then again he admitted that some of us are just too *cool* even for Unity.

"There is going to be a crowd that is just too cool to use something that looks really slick and there is nothing we can do for them," Shuttleworth said. "Fortunately in Ubuntu there are tons of options and lots of choice and ways to skin the cat."


Submission + - Irresponsible IT Disposal Methods ( 1

Orome1 writes: Although data security is the primary concern when decommissioning IT equipment, only 61 per cent of companies currently data wipe all of their redundant computers. Only 43 per cent of senior IT decision makers said they were able to account for all their decommissioned PCs. An estimated 75 per cent of e-waste generated in the EU, equivalent to eight million tonnes a year, is unaccounted for — either sent to landfill, substandard treatment facilities or illegally exported.

Submission + - China builds 1-petaflop homegrown supercomputer (

MrSeb writes: "Drawing yet another battle line between the incumbent oligarchs of the West and the developing hordes of the East, China has unveiled a new supercomputer that uses entirely-homegrown processors — 8,704 of them, to be exact. The computer is called Sunway BlueLight MPP and it has a peak performance of just over 1 petaflop — or around the 15th fastest supercomputer in the world. Sunway uses the ShenWei SW-3 1600, a 16-core, 64-bit MIPS-compatible (RISC) CPU. The process used to make the chips is not known, but it is likely 65 or 45nm, a few generations behind Intel’s latest and greatest. Each of the 139,264 cores runs at 1.1GHz, the entire system has 150TB of memory and 2PB of storage, and of course it’s water-cooled. The ShenWei chips are based on the Loongson/Godson architecture, which China — as in, the country itself — probably reverse engineered from a DEC Alpha CPU in 2001 and has been developing ever since. Sunway is significant for two reasons: a) It's very low-power; it consumes just one megawatt, about half of its contemporaries and one seventh of the US's Jaguar — and b) This is China's first significant supercomputer to be built without Intel or AMD processors."

Submission + - SPAM: Dolphin Browser Takes You To The Cloud

cloudpropel writes: "Dolphin web browser has released its new version Dolphin 7.0 for Android phones that takes you to the cloud with Dolphin Connect. The previous version Dolphin 6.0 had the features such as Speed Dial, Webzine and Gestures. Dolphin 7.0 now lets you sync your browsing preferences, bookmarks and gestures across all Android devices and yet to be ready for iOS. Dolphin 7.0 stands out of the other mobile cloud browsers like Opera Mini and Amazon Silk especially for its Sync functionality."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Federal Contractors are $600 Toilet Seats ( 3

ideonexus writes: "Last month an article appeared on Slashdot about how the Government pays IT contractors twice what it pays its own workers. Missing from the article was how much the IT Contractor pays its own workers. After working for a Federal Contractor for 10 years, a document accidentally leaked to employees by the contractor illustrated the incredible disparity between what the Contractor was paying us and what they were charging the government. Like most contracts according to the GAO, the Government provided our offices, utilities, computers, and training, leaving our salaries as the only overhead to the IT Contractor, giving them an incredible incentive to keep them as low as possible to maximize profits. When the top 100 Defense Contractors cost taxpayers $306 billion, eliminating the Federal Contractor middle-man seems like an obvious place to start the austerity measures."
Open Source

Submission + - Which OSS Clustered Filesystem should I use?

Dishwasha writes: "For over a decade I have had arrays of 10-20 disks providing larger than normal storage at home. I have suffered twice through complete loss of data once due to accidentally not re-enabling the notification on my hardware RAID and having an array power supply fail and the RAID controller was unable to recover half of the entire array. Now, I run RAID-10 manually verifying that each mirrored pair is properly distributed across each enclosure. I would like to upgrade the hardware but am currently severely tied to the current RAID hardware and would like to take a more hardware agnostic approach by utilizing a cluster filesystem. I currently have 8TB of data (16TB raw storage) and am very paranoid about data loss.

My research has yielded 3 possible solutions. Luster, GlusterFS, and Ceph.

Lustre is well accepted and used in 7 of the top 10 supercomputers in the world, but it has been sullied by the buy-off of Sun to Oracle. Fortunately the creator seems to have Lustre back under control via his company Whamcloud, but I am still reticent to pick something once affiliated with Oracle and it also appears that the solution may be a bit more complex than I need. Right now I would like to reduce my hardware requirements to 2 servers total with an equal number of disks to serve as both filesystem cluster servers and KVM hosts.

GlusterFS seems to be gaining a lot of momentum now having backing from Red Hat. It is much less complex and supports distributed replication and directly exporting volumes through CIFS, but doesn't quite have the same endorsement as Lustre.

Ceph seems the smallest of the three projects, but has an interesting striping and replication block-level driver called Rados.

I really would like a clustered filesystem with distributed, replicated, and striped capabilities. If possible, I would like to control the number of replications at a file level. The cluster filesystem should work well with hosting virtual machines in a high-available fashion thereby supporting guest migrations. And lastly it should require as minimal hardware as possible with the possibility of upgrading and scaling without taking down data.

Has anybody here on Slashdot had any experience with one or more of these clustered file systems? Are there any bandwidth and/or latency comparisons between them? Has anyone experienced a failure and can share their experience with the ease of recovery? Does anyone have any recommendations and why?"

Submission + - BMW released The MINI Roadster (

PaulJason writes: BMW MINI Roadster is sixth model in roadster technology having individual features that makes it different to the previous models due to opening and closing roof system in small two-seater new sports car.

Submission + - Freshmeat Renamed to Freecode (

fatp writes: Freshment, operated by the same group as (under, announced to rename to Freecode. Patrick Lenz, Site director Freecode wrote in "Since all of us at Geeknet agree that this site and the community powering it have tremendous potential, even after more than 14 years of existence, we decided to change the name of the site, effective immediately, to Freecode".

On the frontpage of website, Freshmeat widget, the rename isn't effective yet.

Submission + - Student loans in America: The next big credit bubb ( 1

PolygamousRanchKid writes: IN LATE 1965, President Lyndon Johnson stood in the modest gymnasium of what had once been the tiny teaching college he attended in Texas and announced a programme to promote education. Almost a half-century later these modest steps have metastasised into a huge, federally guaranteed student-loan industry. On October 25th the Obama administration added indebted students to the list of banks, car companies, homeowners, solar manufacturers and others that have benefited from a federal handout.

In response to clever students burying their obligations in court during the 1970s, anti-default provisions were imposed to make it almost impossible to shed student loans in bankruptcy. There are increasingly loud calls for reform of the system, with demands that range from a full-fledged bail-out of borrowers to a phased curtailment of government lending. For now the bail-out is the bigger priority for politicians.

The changes announced this week are designed to ease the pressure on struggling graduates. Borrowers who qualify will get payment relief, not debt relief. The administration says these changes will have no cost to taxpayers. If there is one lesson of the past 46 years, it is to be dubious of that claim.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.