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Submission + - Political Polls Become Less Reliable As We Head into 2016 Presidential Election writes: Cliff Zukin writes in the NY Times that those paying close attention to the 2016 election should exercise caution as they read the polls because election polling is in near crisis as statisticians say polls are becoming less reliable. According to Zukin, two trends are driving the increasing unreliability of election and other polling in the United States: the growth of cellphones and the decline in people willing to answer surveys. Coupled, they have made high-quality research much more expensive to do, so there is less of it. This has opened the door for less scientifically based, less well-tested techniques. To top it off, a perennial election polling problem, how to identify “likely voters,” has become even thornier. Today, a majority of people are difficult or impossible to reach on landline phones. One problem is that the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act has been interpreted by the Federal Communications Commission to prohibit the calling of cellphones through automatic dialers, in which calls are passed to live interviewers only after a person picks up the phone. To complete a 1,000-person survey, it’s not unusual to have to dial more than 20,000 random numbers, most of which do not go to actual working telephone numbers. The second unsettling trend are rapidly declining response rates, reaching levels once considered unimaginable. In the late 1970s, pollsters considered an 80 percent response rate acceptable but by 2014 the response rate has fallen to 8 percent. "Our old paradigm has broken down, and we haven’t figured out how to replace it," concludes Zukin. "In short, polls and pollsters are going to be less reliable. We may not even know when we’re off base. What this means for 2016 is anybody’s guess."

Submission + - European Court: Websites Are Responsible For Users' Comments (

An anonymous reader writes: A new ruling from the European Court of Human Rights found it perfectly acceptable to hold websites responsible for comments left by users. Experts are worried the ruling will encourage websites to censor content posted by users out of concern that they're opening themselves up to legal liability. The judgment also seems to support the claim that "proactive monitoring" can be required of website owners. Peter Micek of digital rights group "Access" said, "This ruling is a serious blow to users’ rights online. Dissenting voices will have fewer outlets in which to seek and impart opinions anonymously. Instead, users at risk will be dragged down by a precedent that will keep them from accessing the open ocean of ideas and information."

Submission + - Ocumetics Bionic Lens could give you vision 3x better than 20/20 (

An anonymous reader writes: Imagine being able to see three times better than 20/20 vision without wearing glasses or contacts — even at age 100 or more — with the help of bionic lenses implanted in your eyes.

Dr. Garth Webb, an optometrist in British Columbia who invented the Ocumetics Bionic Lens, says patients would have perfect vision and that driving glasses, progressive lenses and contact lenses would become a dim memory as the eye-care industry is transformed.

Webb says people who have the specialized lenses surgically inserted would never get cataracts because their natural lenses, which decay over time, would have been replaced.

Perfect eyesight would result "no matter how crummy your eyes are," Webb says, adding the Bionic Lens would be an option for someone who depends on corrective lenses and is over about age 25, when the eye structures are fully developed.

Submission + - 'Logjam' Vulnerability Threatens Encrypted Connections (

An anonymous reader writes: A team of security researchers has revealed a new encryption vulnerability called 'Logjam,' which is the result of a flaw in the TLS protocol used to create encrypted connections. It affects servers supporting the Diffie-Hellman key exchange, and it's caused by export restrictions mandated by the U.S. government during the Clinton administration. "Attackers with the ability to monitor the connection between an end user and a Diffie-Hellman-enabled server that supports the export cipher can inject a special payload into the traffic that downgrades encrypted connections to use extremely weak 512-bit key material. Using precomputed data prepared ahead of time, the attackers can then deduce the encryption key negotiated between the two parties." Internet Explorer is the only browser yet updated to block such an attack — patches for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are expected soon. The researchers add, "Breaking the single, most common 1024-bit prime used by web servers would allow passive eavesdropping on connections to 18% of the Top 1 Million HTTPS domains. A second prime would allow passive decryption of connections to 66% of VPN servers and 26% of SSH servers. A close reading of published NSA leaks shows that the agency's attacks on VPNs are consistent with having achieved such a break." Here is their full technical report (PDF).

Submission + - How the DEA harasses and robs train passengers (

schwit1 writes: Evidence suggests that the Drug Enforcement agency routinely detains, searches, and then steals from train passengers under the guise of searching for drugs.

This story isn't from some a libertarian website, but from the Atlantic. It describes the routine abuse of power by agents, often resulting in the theft of cash.

Submission + - Jason Scott of Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs ( 1

eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your close tor a drawer full of CD-ROM media mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case" and now (ten years later) the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain mentally ill individual named Jason Scott has a fever and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we’re talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It’s over. The time when we’re going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there’s going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I’m looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!

Submission + - Reboot Your Dreamliner Every 248 Days To Avoid Integer Overflow (

mikejuk writes: You may be used to rebooting a server every so often to ensure that it doesn't crash because of some resource problem, but what about a modern jet airliner like the Boeing 787?
A recent directive ( from the US Federal Aviation Administration reminds us that software in planes is about as trustworth as on the desktop.
To quote:
"This condition is caused by a software counter internal to the GCUs (Generator Control Units) that will overflow after 248 days of continuous power. We are issuing this AD to prevent loss of all AC electrical power, which could result in loss of control of the airplane."
A simple guess suggests the the problem is a signed 32-bit overflow as 2^31 is the number of seconds in 248 days multiplied by 100, i.e. a 32 bit signed counter in hundredths of of a second.
Until there is a patch for the problem all Dreamliners have to be rebooted before the 248 day period is up. Apparently if the worse does happen and the GCUs overflow and switch off the power then the plane should have enough backup power from a lithium-ion battery for about 6 seconds while a ram air turbine deploys for emergency power generation. So, with luck, this isn't a bug that could cause planes to fall out of the sky.
It is estimated that the Airbus A380, comparable in complexity to the Dreamliner, has more than 100 million lines of code.

Comment Re:Interesting, but... (Score 1) 8

Removing from the android store would be legit, they provide the service after all; but a push notification service, to me, does not sound any more similar to a search engine than a meeting scheduler to google calendar (hint: doodle), so demanding to cease the domain name, or change the name of his software, again, is pure BS, microsoft '90s style.

Submission + - Unnoticed For Years, Malware Turned Linux Servers Into Spamming Machines

An anonymous reader writes: For over 5 years, and perhaps even longer, servers around the world running Linux and FreeBSD operating systems have been targeted by an individual or group that compromised them via a backdoor Trojan, then made them send out spam, ESET researchers have found.

What's more, it seems that the spammers are connected with a software company called Yellsoft, which sells DirectMailer, a "system for automated e-mail distribution" that allows users to send out anonymous email in bulk.

Submission + - OpenBSD 5.7 Released

An anonymous reader writes: Just as per the schedule, OpenBSD 5.7 was released today, May 1, 2015. The theme of the 5.7 release is "Source Fish". There are some big changes in OpenBSD 5.7. The nginx httpd server removed from base in favor of an internally developed httpd server in 5.7. BIND (named) from base in 5.7 in favor of nsd(8) (authoritative DNS) and unbound(8) (recursive resolver). Packages will exist for BIND and nginx. This version include a new control utility, rcctl(8), for managing daemons/services, USB 3 support and more. See a detailed log of changes between the 5.6 and 5.7 releases for more information. If you already have an OpenBSD 5.6 system, and do not want to reinstall, upgrade instructions and advice can be found in the Upgrade Guide. You can order the 5.7 CD set from the new OpenBSD Store and support the project.

Submission + - How an open standard API could revolutionize banking (

An anonymous reader writes: Open bank data will give us the freedom to access all banks in real time and from a single view, automatically calculating the best deals in complete transparency, which will be a significant step forward for social good and give people more control over their finances. Meanwhile, financial tech incubators, accelerators, and startups are creating a more experienced talent pool of developers ready to act upon these newly available assets.

Submission + - Progress M-27M cargo mission to ISS out of control

quippe writes: Many sources report that the Russian spacecraft, launched successfully from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan earlier Tuesday, is in big trouble now after having a glitch shortly after liftoff. There is a video on youtube (credit: NASA) of the space ship spinning on itself, it doesn't look any good. Current speculation points to a bigger than expected lift by the third-stage, based on the fact that apogee is 20km higher than planned. It seems it is not posing any threat to the ISS at the moment.

"What people have been reduced to are mere 3-D representations of their own data." -- Arthur Miller