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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts

FBI Overstated Forensic Hair Matches In Nearly All Trials Before 2000 173

Posted by timothy
from the why-the-house-wins-so-often dept.
schwit1 writes The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country's largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence. The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.
Censorship

France Will Block Web Sites That Promote Terrorism 216

Posted by timothy
from the good-luck-with-all-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes In the first use of government powers enacted after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the French Interior Ministry on Monday ordered five websites blocked on the grounds that they promote or advocate terrorism. The action raises questions about how governments might counter groups such as the self-declared Islamic State on digital platforms.
Facebook

Nipples, Terrorism, and Sexual Descriptions - Facebook's List of Banned Content 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the standards-and-practices dept.
Mark Wilson writes Facebook has updated its Community Standards document, outlining the type of content that is not permitted on the social network. When it's not forcing people to reveal their real names, blocking 'offensive' content, or encouraging users to vote, Facebook is often to be found removing content that has been reported for one reason or another. But what's acceptable, and what's not? A little while back, the site revealed a simplified version of its privacy policy, and now the Community Standards document has received the same treatment. Facebook has set out the types of pictures that are permissible, along with specifying guidelines for other content.
United States

How To Execute People In the 21st Century 1081

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-the-road dept.
HughPickens.com writes Matt Ford writes in The Atlantic that thanks to a European Union embargo on the export of key drugs, and the refusal of major pharmaceutical companies to sell them the nation's predominant method of execution is increasingly hard to perform. With lethal injection's future uncertain, some states are turning to previously discarded methods. The Utah legislature just approved a bill to reintroduce firing squads for executions, Alabama's House of Representatives voted to authorize the electric chair if new drugs couldn't be found, and after last years botched injection, Oklahoma legislators are mulling the gas chamber.

The driving force behind the creation and abandonment of execution methods is the constant search for a humane means of taking a human life. Arizona, for example, abandoned hangings after a noose accidentally decapitated a condemned woman in 1930. Execution is also prone to problems as witnesses routinely report that, when the switch is thrown, the condemned prisoner "cringes," "leaps," and "fights the straps with amazing strength." The hands turn red, then white, and the cords of the neck stand out like steel bands. The prisoner's limbs, fingers, toes, and face are severely contorted. The force of the electrical current is so powerful that the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out and "rest on [his] cheeks." The physical effects of the deadly hydrogen cyanide in the gas chamber are coma, seizures and cardiac arrest but the time lag has previously proved a problem. According to Ford one reason lethal injection enjoyed such tremendous popularity was that it strongly resembled a medical procedure, thereby projecting our preconceived notions about modern medicine—its competence, its efficacy, and its reliability—onto the capital-punishment system. "As states revert to earlier methods of execution—techniques once abandoned as backward and flawed—they run the risk that the death penalty itself will be seen in the same terms."
Intel

Intel Updates NUC Mini PC Line With Broadwell-U, Tested and Benchmarked 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid writes Intel recently released its latest generation of NUC small form factor systems, based on the company's new low-power Broadwell-U series processors. The primary advantages of Intel's 5th Generation Core Series Broadwell-U-based processors are better performance-per-watt, stronger integrated graphics, and a smaller footprint, all things that are perfectly suited to the company's NUC (Next Unit of Computing) products. The Intel NUC5i5RYK packs a Core i5-5250U processor with on-die Intel HD 6000 series graphics. The system also sports built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, M.2 SSD support, and a host of other features, all in a 115mm x 111mm x 32.7mm enclosure. Performance-wise the new 5th Gen Core Series-powered NUC benchmarks like a midrange notebook and is actually up for a bit of light-duty gaming, though it's probably more at home as a Home Theater PC, media streamer or kiosk desktop machine.
Java

Java Vs. Node.js: Epic Battle For Dev Mindshare 319

Posted by samzenpus
from the hearts-and-minds dept.
snydeq writes While it may have been unthinkable 20 years ago, Java and JavaScript are now locked in a battle of sorts for control of the programming world. InfoWorld's Peter Wayner examines where the old-school compiler-driven world of Java hold its ground and where the speed and flexibility of Node.js gives JavaScript on the server the nod. "In the history of computing, 1995 was a crazy time. First Java appeared, then close on its heels came JavaScript. The names made them seem like conjoined twins newly detached, but they couldn't be more different. One of them compiled and statically typed; the other interpreted and dynamically typed. That's only the beginning of the technical differences between these two wildly distinct languages that have since shifted onto a collision course of sorts, thanks to Node.js."
Canada

Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-second-thought dept.
An anonymous reader writes Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain. While this was oddly described as a "copyright quirk", it was no quirk. The term of copyright in Canada (alongside TPP countries such as Japan and New Zealand) is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term that meets the international standard set by the Berne Convention. Those countries now appear to have caved to U.S. pressure as there are reports that they have agreed to extend to life plus 70 years as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Media

Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ 1350

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A pair of gunmen have stormed the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and wounding seven more. The magazine had recently published a cartoon of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and witnesses say the gunmen shouted, "we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad," before leaving. "Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier were reported among those killed, as well as at least two police officers. Mr Charbonnier, 47, had received death threats in the past and was living under police protection." The attackers engaged police in a gunfire outside the building, then fled in a car. At the time of this writing, they are still at large. Currently, the BBC has the most information out of English news outlets. French speakers can consult the headline at Le Monde for more current news.
Social Networks

Twitter Bug Locks Out Many Users 69

Posted by timothy
from the confine-comments-to-140-chars-in-solidarity dept.
TechCrunch and ZDNet are among the many sources to report that many users are having trouble right now signing in to Twitter, and that the company is working right now to fix the glitch. As ZDNet describes the problem, According to Twitter's server response at the time of writing, most of 2015 has happened, and we are heading into a bright new 2016 in a couple of days time. Querying Twitter's HTTP response headers at https://twitter.com returns a time stamp dated one year into the future: "date: Mon, 29 Dec 2015 02:09:37 UTC". Consequently, users of Twitter's popular Tweetdeck application have experienced seeing every incoming tweet appear with a time stamp reporting the tweet to be from 365 days ago. At the same time that Twitter's servers began returning the incorrect date, some users of Twitter's official Android app were logged out of the service, and unable to log in again via the app. Users of some third-party Twitter applications have also reported being locked out of their apps.
Movies

'Citizenfour' Producers Sued Over Edward Snowden Leaks 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the indicting-a-ham-sandwich dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from The Hollywood Reporter: Horace Edwards, who identifies himself as a retired naval officer and the former secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, has filed a lawsuit in Kansas federal court that seeks a constructive trust over monies derived from the distribution of Citizenfour. Edwards ... seeks to hold Snowden, director Laura Poitras, The Weinstein Co., Participant Media and others responsible for "obligations owed to the American people" and "misuse purloined information disclosed to foreign enemies." It's an unusual lawsuit, one that the plaintiff likens to "a derivative action on behalf of the American Public," and is primarily based upon Snowden's agreement with the United States to keep confidentiality. ... Edwards appears to be making the argument that Snowden's security clearance creates a fiduciary duty of loyalty — one that was allegedly breached by Snowden's participation in the production of Citizenfour without allowing prepublication clearance review. As for the producers and distributors, they are said to be "aiding and abetting the theft and misuse of stolen government documents." The lawsuit seeks a constructive trust to redress the alleged unjust enrichment by the film. A 1980 case that involved a former CIA officer's book went up to the Supreme Court and might have opened the path to such a remedy.

Comment: Re:ZMapp (Score 3, Informative) 33

I've watched way too many zombie movies to feel comfortable with the drug's name.

Heck, never mind the name, this is the beginning of the plot of more zombie movies than I can count.

You two aren't just whistlin' Dixie; that's the major plot of the Charlton Heston classic The Omega Man.

Then again, that one chick-zombie was pretty cool, so if that's a possible side-effect, then I say it's win-win.

Medicine

Meet the Doctor Trying To Use the Blood of Ebola Survivors To Create a Cure 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-in-the-blood dept.
An anonymous reader points out this article about Dr. James Crowe, who is trying to use the blood of Ebola survivors to develop a cure. "For months, Vanderbilt University researcher Dr. James Crowe has been desperately seeking access to the blood of U.S. Ebola survivors, hoping to extract the proteins that helped them overcome the deadly virus for use in new, potent drugs. His efforts finally paid off in mid-November with a donation from Dr. Rick Sacra, a University of Massachusetts physician who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia. The donation puts Crowe at the forefront of a new model for fighting the virus, now responsible for the worst known outbreak in West Africa that has killed nearly 7,000 people. Crowe is working with privately-held drugmaker Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, which he said will manufacture the antibodies for further testing under a National Institutes of Health grant. Mapp is currently testing its own drug ZMapp, a cocktail of three antibodies that has shown promise in treating a handful of Ebola patients."
Crime

GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-are-they-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes The Telegraph reports, "GCHQ has lost track of some of the most dangerous crime lords and has had to abort surveillance on others after Edward Snowden revealed their tactics ... The spy agency has suffered "significant" damage in its ability to monitor and capture serious organized criminals following the exposes by the former CIA contractor. Intelligence officers are now blind to more than a quarter of the activities of the UK's most harmful crime gangs after they changed their communications methods in the wake of the Snowden leaks. One major drug smuggling gang has been able to continue flooding the UK with Class A narcotics unimpeded for the last year after changing their operations. More intense tracking of others has either been abandoned or not started because of fears the tactics are now too easy to spot and will force the criminals to "go dark" and be lost sight of completely."
Music

The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the 50-Year Copyright Itch 153

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-get-by-with-a-little-help-from-their-lobbyists dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Victoria Shannon reports in the NY Times that fifty years ago was a good year for music, with the Beatles appearing on Billboard's charts for the first time, the Rolling Stones releasing their first album, the Supremes with five No. 1 hits, and Simon and Garfunkel releasing their debut album. The 50-year milestone is significant, because music published within the first half-century of its recording gets another 20 years of copyright protection under changes in European law. So every year since 2012, studios go through their tape vaults to find unpublished music to get it on the market before the deadline.

The first year, Motown released a series of albums packed with outtakes by some of its major acts, and Sony released a limited-edition collection of 1962 outtakes by Bob Dylan, with the surprisingly frank title, "The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. I." In 2013, Sony released a second Dylan set, devoted to previously unreleased 1963 recordings. Similar recordings by the Beatles and the Beach Boys followed. This year, Sony is releasing a limited-edition nine-LP set of 1964 recordings by Dylan, including a 46-second try at "Mr. Tambourine Man," which he would not complete until 1965. The Beach Boys released two copyright-extension sets of outtakes last week. And while there's no official word on a Beatles release, last year around this time, "The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963" turned up unannounced on iTunes.
Piracy

Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS 388

Posted by Soulskill
from the scorched-net-policy dept.
schwit1 sends this report from The Verge: Most anti-piracy tools take one of two paths: they either target the server that's sharing the files (pulling videos off YouTube or taking down sites like The Pirate Bay) or they make it harder to find (delisting offshore sites that share infringing content). But leaked documents reveal a frightening line of attack that's currently being considered by the MPAA: What if you simply erased any record that the site was there in the first place? To do that, the MPAA's lawyers would target the Domain Name System that directs traffic across the internet.

The tactic was first proposed as part of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in 2011, but three years after the law failed in Congress, the MPAA has been looking for legal justification for the practice in existing law and working with ISPs like Comcast to examine how a system might work technically. If a takedown notice could blacklist a site from every available DNS provider, the URL would be effectively erased from the internet. No one's ever tried to issue a takedown notice like that, but this latest memo suggests the MPAA is looking into it as a potentially powerful new tool in the fight against piracy.

The only problem with being a man of leisure is that you can never stop and take a rest.

Working...