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+ - Bankers sacked after filming mock IS execution of Asian worker-> 1 1

schwit1 writes: HSBC just can't seem to help itself. As The Sun reports, as part of a "team-building" exercise, six bankers filmed the fake ISIS-style beheading of an Asian colleague — while yelling 'Allahu Akbar'. However, given that these were not C-level executives, there has been some consequences — the six bankers have been fired with HSBC noting "this is an abhorrent video and HSBC would like to apologize for any offense."
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+ - Cronyism Pays: Eric Holder Returns To Law Firm That Lobbies For Banks->

schwit1 writes: After failing to criminally prosecute any of the financial firms responsible for the market collapse in 2008, former Attorney General Eric Holder is returning to Covington & Burling, a corporate law firm known for serving Wall Street clients. The move completes one of the more troubling trips through the revolving door for a cabinet secretary. Holder worked at Covington from 2001 right up to being sworn in as attorney general in Feburary 2009. And Covington literally kept an office empty for him, awaiting his return. When the firm moved to a new building last year, it kept an 11th-story corner office reserved for Holder.
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+ - Proposed regulation could keep 3D-printed gun blueprints offline for good-> 1 1

SonicSpike writes: A notice posted on June 3rd in a recent Federal Register show that some changes are being made to the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) regulations. Hidden within the proposal, which restricts what gear, technology, and info can and cannot be exported out of the US, is a ban on posting schematics for 3D printed gun parts online.

The ruling comes just a month after Cody Wilson and, his group Defense Distributed filed a lawsuit against the federal government for forcing them to remove blueprints of the “Liberator” 3D-printed gun of off their website. Wilson described the move as a violation of First Amendment Rights and believes that the new mandate is a direct response to his lawsuit.

In the public notice, the State Department revises the definition of export in an attempt to “remove activities associated with a defense article’s further movement or release outside the United States.”

Included in the new provision is “technical data” posted on the Internet.

“By putting up a digital file, that constitutes an export of the data,” a senior State Department official stated. “If it’s an executable digital file, any foreign interests can get a hold of it.

“These proposed definition changes are part of our broader effort to streamline and modernize a Cold War era regulatory system to better safeguard against illicit attempts to procure sensitive U.S. defense technologies under Export Control Reform.”

The official added that the proposed definition changes have been in the works for several years, ever since President Obama announced his Export Control Initiative in 2009 and that these changes in definition seek to account for technologies not foreseen — like 3D-printing — when these regulations were initially developed.

However, Wilson says that it’s a back door way to ramp up gun control stateside.

“It's speech control to regulate the gun culture, It's not coming, like some are suggesting. It is here and I've been threatened with it and complete ruin for over two years.”

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+ - China's Unsettling Stock Market Collapse->

schwit1 writes: The Shanghai index is firmly in bear market territory, down 28.6% since the June peak, while the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite has fallen 33.2%.

There were also signs on Friday that the stock market turmoil is beginning to reverberate beyond China. The Australian dollar, often traded as a proxy for China growth, is down 1.2% to a six-year low of US$0.7539. The 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese daily newspaper, on Friday quoted multiple futures traders as saying they had received phone calls from the China Financial Futures Exchange instructing them not to short the market.

China's financial titans are attempting to set up a "market stabilization fund." This doesn't sound good.

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+ - Older Athletes Have a Strikingly Young Fitness Age

schwit1 writes: Older Athletes Have a Strikingly Young Fitness Age. "Older athletes can be much younger, physically, than they are in real life, according to a new study of participants in the coming Senior Olympics. The study found that the athletes' fitness age is typically 20 years or more younger than their chronological age, providing a clear inspiration to the rest of us to get out and start moving more."

What's most striking is that most of them hadn't exercised vigorously their entire lives, but rather started late in life.

+ - Rocket Labs picks New Zealand for its launch site

schwit1 writes: The small sat rocket company Rocket Labs has chosen a location in New Zealand as its future launch site.

Rocket Lab's all-black Electron booster offers launch for less than $5 million. The company, whose investors include Lockheed Martin, is targeting clients such as university programs and small start-ups, Beck said, and it already has 30 potential clients.

The company didn't specify how much it was investing in the site, which is due to be completed in the fourth quarter. New Zealand, which has been used in the past by the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, is considered a prime location because rockets launched from that deep in the Southern hemisphere can reach a wide range of Earth orbits. Rocket Lab's remote site on the Kaitorete Spit in the Canterbury region also means it has less air and sea traffic, which translates into more frequent launches and economies of scale, the company said. It also will no longer compete for airspace with the U.S. government.

Rocket Labs will have to actually launch something to really make the competition heat up. This announcement, however, illustrates that in the long run, the United States has some significant disadvantages as a spaceport location.

+ - With Hobbit and LoTR in the can, Trolls no longer welcome in New Zealand->

schwit1 writes: New Zealand has become the latest country to think bad online manners are amenable to legislation.

The country last night passed a controversial bill, the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, in the hope of stemming "cyber-bullying".

The bill creates a regime under which digital communications causing "serious emotional distress" are subject to an escalating regime that starts as "negotiation, mediation or persuasionâ but reaches up to creating the offences of not complying with an order, and "causing harm by posting digital communication".

The most serious offenders would face two years in jail or a maximum fine of NZ$50,000 (US$33,900).

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+ - What happens when it's suddenly illegal to move money out of your country?

schwit1 writes: Basic Internet services disappear.

Just as individual Greeks are losing access to Apple's iCloud, as the Athens staff of Bloomberg News recently discovered, so companies are finding themselves cut off from services critical to their ongoing operations.

The problem demonstrates a hidden risk in today's otherwise efficient vertical disintegration. Taking for granted the easy flow of money across borders, system designers never foresaw a situation in which companies with adequate funds would find that they couldn't pay foreign vendors.

"Greek companies are not able at this moment to pay for hosting (Amazon), storage (Dropbox), email services (MailChimp) and many other services," says Jon Vlachogiannis, a Bay Area entrepreneur, in an email. Without these services, otherwise viable businesses are in trouble.

Vlachogiannis and other expats are stepping up to pay the bills from California, rescuing companies with astonishingly small amounts.

+ - MOD to release UK's top secret UFO 'X-Files' that 'could prove aliens exist'->

schwit1 writes: The major boost for alien hunters can be exclusively revealed by Express.co.uk on World UFO Day, which campaigners are using to call for the release of all such records globally.

UFO researchers, backed by House of Lords peer, have been fighting for the release of 18 top secret Ministry of Defence (MoD) files about UFO sightings from more than 30 years ago.

The Government faced claims of a cover-up from conspiracy theorists when their release was stalled at the end of 2013.

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+ - Angler Exploit Kit Evasion Techniques Keep Cryptowall Thriving->

msm1267 writes: Since the Angler Exploit Kit began pushing the latest version of Cryptowall ransomware, the kit has gone to great lengths evade detection from IDS and other security technologies. The latest tactic is an almost-daily change to URL patterns used by the kit in HTTP GET requests for the Angler landing page, requests for a Flash exploit, and requests for the Cryptowall 3.0 payload. Traffic patterns as of yesterday are almost unrecognizable compared to those of as recent as three weeks ago.
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+ - Teachers granted power to 'confiscate and destroy' unhealthy lunch->

schwit1 writes: The British government is urging school leaders to use their "common law powers" to search student lunches and potentially confiscate any items they deem "unhealthy or inappropriate."

Education minister Lord Nash tells Express, "Schools have common law powers to search pupils, with their consent, for items." There is nothing to prevent schools from having a policy of inspecting lunch boxes for food items that are prohibited under their school food policies.

"A member of staff may confiscate, keep or destroy such items found as a result of the search if it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances." The government's foray into lunch inspections began when Cherry Tree Primary School in Colchester banned a Peperami sausage snack and scotch eggs from a six-year-old girl's lunch. Manchester's Manley Park Primary School seized cereal bars from lunches, according to the Huffington Post.

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+ - Windows 10 to Share WiFi Credentials by Default?

ewhac writes: Even those of us who reflexively (and correctly) bash Microsoft every chance we get are having trouble wrapping our heads around this one. It seems that the latest build of Windows 10 has a new feature called Wi-Fi Sense which, by default, will share your WiFi connection profiles and credentials with all your Facebook friends, and Skype and Outlook.com contacts.

Wi-Fi Sense is apparently a feature that first appeared on Windows Phone 8.1, and is described by Managing Editor Sam Sabri in this Windows Central article from last year — without irony or sarcasm — as a, "killer feature." The apparent use case for this "killer feature" is to more conveniently share the connection credentials to your own WAP with your friends. If, however, you would prefer your WAP's info to not be shared, you have but to append the string "_optout" to your SSID (no solution is provided for people whose SSIDs are already near the 32-character limit). The WinPhone version of Wi-Fi Sense reportedly does not display the WAP's password to recipients but, since recipients can connect, the password is (probably) stored using a symmetric cipher and, thus, can be easily extracted. Wi-Fi Sense will also automagically click through any ToS page that typically appears on public WiFi access points (thus destroying any remaining illusion of meaningful assent to such so-called contracts).

Wi-Fi Sense can apparently be turned off completely, but its default state appears to be enabled and sharing everything. It is unclear how much, if any, of this "killer feature" will be in the final release of Windows 10.

+ - NASA to waste $150 million on SLS engine that will be used once.

schwit1 writes: NASA's safety panel has noticed that NASA's SLS program either plans to spend $150 million man-rating a rocket engine it will only use once, or will fly a manned mission without man-rating that engine.

The Block 1 SLS is the "basic model", sporting a Delta Cryogenic Second Stage (DCSS), renamed the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion System (ICPS) for SLS. The current plan calls for this [interim] stage to be used on [the unmanned] Exploration Mission -1 (EM-1) and [manned] Exploration Mission -2 (EM-2), prior to moving to the [Exploration Upper Stage] — also to be built by Boeing — that will become the workhorse for SLS.

However, using the [interim upper stage] on a crewed mission will require it to be human rated. It is likely NASA will also need to fly the [Exploration Upper Stage] on an unmanned mission to validate the new stage ahead of human missions. This has been presenting NASA with a headache for some time, although it took the recent ASAP meeting to finally confirm those concerns to the public.

Up until now, no one at NASA would admit that their SLS plans called for flying humans with an upper stage that has not been man-rated. They don't have the funds to man-rate it, and even if they get those funds, man-rating it will likely cause SLS's schedule to slip even more, something NASA fears because they expect the commercial manned ships to be flying sooner and with increasing capability. The contrast — a delayed and unflown and very expensive SLS vs a flying and inexpensive commercial effort — will not do SLS good politically.

However, if they are going to insist (properly I think) that SpaceX and Boeing man-rate their capsules and rockets, then NASA is going to have to man-rate its SLS systems as well. The result: more problems for SLS, contributing to what I believe will be its inevitable cancellation.

Government marches on!

+ - Test Pilot Admits the F-35 Can't Dogfight->

schwit1 writes: A test pilot has some very, very bad news about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The pricey new stealth jet can't turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight or to dodge the enemy's own gunfire, the pilot reported following a day of mock air battles back in January.

And to add insult to injury, the JSF flier discovered he couldn't even comfortably move his head inside the radar-evading jet's cramped cockpit. "The helmet was too large for the space inside the canopy to adequately see behind the aircraft." That allowed the F-16 to sneak up on him.

The test pilot's report is the latest evidence of fundamental problems with the design of the F-35 — which, at a total program cost of more than a trillion dollars, is history's most expensive weapon.

Your tax dollars at work.

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+ - This Is How Uber Takes Over a City->

schwit1 writes: To conquer America's quirkiest city, the company unleashed its biggest weapon.

Charlie Hales, the mayor of Portland, Ore., was running a zoning hearing last December when he missed a call on his cell from David Plouffe, the campaign mastermind behind Barack Obama's ascent. Although Hales had never met him, Plouffe left a voice mail that had an air of charming familiarity, reminiscing about the 2008 rally when 75,000 Obama supporters thronged Portland's waterfront. "Sure love your city," Plouffe gushed. "I'm now working for Uber and would love to talk."

Over the past year, Uber built one of the largest and most successful lobbying forces in the country, with a presence in almost every statehouse. It has 250 lobbyists and 29 lobbying firms registered in capitols around the nation, at least a third more than Wal-Mart Stores. That doesn't count municipal lobbyists. In Portland, the 28th-largest city in the U.S., 10 people would ultimately register to lobby on Uber's behalf.

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