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+ - How 1990s encryption backdoors put today's Internet in jeopardy->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: While debate swirls in Washington D.C. about new encryption laws, the consequences of the last crypto war is still being felt. Logjam vulnerabilities making headlines today is "a direct result of weakening cryptography legislation in the 1990s," researcher J. Alex Halderman said. "Thanks to Moore's law and improvements in cryptanalysis, the ability to break that crypto is something really anyone can do with open-source software. The backdoor might have seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe the arguments 20 years ago convinced people this was going to be safe. History has shown otherwise. This is the second time in two months we've seen 90s era crypto blow up and put the safety of everyone on the internet in jeopardy."
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+ - Canadian Prime Minister to Music Lobby: Here's Your Copyright Term Extension->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The Canadian government's decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings in the budget may have taken most copyright observers by surprise, but not the music industry. The extension will reduce competition, increase costs for consumers, and harm access to Canadian Heritage, but apparently all it took was a letter from the music industry lobby to the Prime Minister of Canada. Michael Geist reports on a letter sent by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the music lobby on the day the change was announced confirming that industry lobbying convinced him to extend the term of copyright without any public consultation or discussion.
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+ - European telecom firms may block all mobile ads, spelling trouble for Google->

Submitted by Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson writes: Google is facing something of a European revolution as mobile companies consider blocking ads on a massive scale. Israeli company Shine has developed software that blocks mobile ads, and it has gained the attention and support of a number of telecom companies in Europe.

Talking to the Financial Times, one wireless carrier said that the software had been installed at its data centers and could be enabled by the end of the year. With the potential to automatically block most ads on web pages and within apps, the repercussion of the ad boycott could be huge as mobile providers try to wrestle control from the likes of Google.

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+ - US Christians numbers 'decline sharply', poll finds->

Submitted by gollum123
gollum123 writes: The number of Americans who identify as Christian has fallen nearly eight percentage points in only seven years, according to a new survey.
Pew Research Center found that 71% of Americans identified as Christian in 2014 — down from 78% in 2007.
In the same period, Americans identifying as having no religion grew from 16% to 23%. About 5 million less Americans now identify as Christian compared to when the study was conducted in 2007.
In the South, those not-affiliated with religion — or as the researchers call them, "nones" — rose to 19% of the population, while in the Northeast they climbed to 25%.
In the West "nones" are a larger group than any religion, making up 28% of the public.

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+ - Enterprise SSDs potentially lose data in a week->

Submitted by Mal-2
Mal-2 writes: From IB Times:

The standards body for the microelectronics industry has found that Solid State Drives (SSD) can start to lose their data and become corrupted if they are left without power for as little as a week. According to a recent presentation (PDF) by Seagate's Alvin Cox, who is also chairman of the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC), the period of time that data will be retained on an SSD is halved for every 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature in the area where the SSD is stored.


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+ - Coast Guard spots 100+ year old shipwrecks from the air

Submitted by tomhath
tomhath writes: "Earlier this month, a helicopter from the Coast Guard's Air Station in Traverse City, Michigan, was out on a routine patrol over the lake, looking for boats in distress or anything out of the ordinary. It was a calm day; the ice that covered the lake had recently melted, and the water was still very cold, just 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3.3 degrees Celsius) — a perfect combination for good visibility.

When Petty Officer Mitch Brown looked out the window of the helicopter, he could spot several century-old shipwrecks in the crystal-blue waters."

+ - Shape of the Universe determined to be really, really flat 1

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: You might imagine all sorts of possibilities for how the Universe could have been shaped: positively curved like a higher-dimensional sphere, negatively curved like a higher-dimensional saddle, folded back on itself like a donut/torus, or spatially flat on the largest scales, like a giant Cartesian grid. Yet only one of these possibilities matches up with our observations, something we can probe simply by using our knowledge of how light travels in both flat and curved space, and measuring the CMB, the source of the most distant light in the Universe. The result? A Universe that’s so incredibly flat, it’s indistinguishable from perfection.

+ - Reliable Cron across the Planet->

Submitted by ChelleChelle2
ChelleChelle2 writes: In a recent article Google Site Reliability Engineer Stepan Davidovic and Kavita Guliani (technical writer) discuss Google’s implementation of a distributed Cron service. Davidovic shares many of the valuable lessons his team learned from the experience, discussing some of the various problems that distributed Crons face and outlining possible solutions.
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+ - Ancestery.com caught sharing DNA database with government->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike writes: In 1996, a young woman named Angie Dodge was murdered in her apartment in a small town in Idaho. Although the police collected DNA from semen left at the crime scene, they haven’t been able to match the DNA to existing profiles in any criminal database, and the murder has never been solved.

Fast forward to 2014. The Idaho police sent the semen sample to a private lab to extract a DNA profile that included YSTR and mtDNA—the two genetic markers used to determine patrilineal and matrilineal relationships (it’s unclear why they reopened the case after nearly 20 years). These markers would allow investigators to search some existing databases to try to find a match between the sample and genetic relatives.

The cops chose to use a lab linked to a private collection of genetic genealogical data called the Sorenson Database (now owned by Ancestry.com), which claims it’s “the foremost collection of genetic genealogy data in the world.” The reason the Sorenson Database can make such an audacious claim is because it has obtained its more than 100,000 DNA samples and documented multi-generational family histories from “volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.”

Sorenson promised volunteers their genetic data would only be used for “genealogical services, including the determination of family migration patterns and geographic origins” and would not be shared outside Sorenson.

Despite this promise, Sorenson shared its vast collection of data with the Idaho police. Without a warrant or court order, investigators asked the lab to run the crime scene DNA against Sorenson’s private genealogical DNA database. Sorenson found 41 potential familial matches, one of which matched on 34 out of 35 alleles—a very close match that would generally indicate a close familial relationship. The cops then asked, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.”

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+ - Yik Yak is the Latest Way to Cheat on Exams->

Submitted by jyosim
jyosim writes: Yik Yak has caused trouble on campus as far as cyberbullying, but during finals week, students are finding another use of the anonymous app — sharing test questions. Yep, it's the newest tool for students seeking to cheat on exams, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. "Remember that Bryophyta doesn't have vascular tissue!!!" Yakked one student right after an exam at University of Missouri at Columbia, trying to help classmates who would take the test later in the day.
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+ - Spurious IP Address Used To Continuously Activate Windows 7-> 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: A presumed pirate with an unusually large appetite for activating Windows 7 has incurred the wrath of Microsoft. In a lawsuit filed at a Washington court, Microsoft said that it logged hundreds of suspicious product activations from a single Verizon IP address and is now seeking damages. Who he, she or they are behind address 74.111.202.30 is unknown at this point, but according to Microsoft they're responsible for some serious Windows pirating. "As part of its cyberforensic methods, Microsoft analyzes product key activation data voluntarily provided by users when they activate Microsoft software, including the IP address from which a given product key is activated," the lawsuit reads. The company says that its forensic tools allow the company to analyze billions of activations of software and identify patterns "that make it more likely than not" that an IP address associated with activations is one through which pirated software is being activated.
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+ - No, NASA did not accidentally invent warp drive

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: As Slashdot has previously reported, NASA Spaceflight has claimed to have vetted the EM Drive in a vacuum, and found there is still an anomalous thrust/acceleration on the order of 50 microNewtons for the device. While some are claiming this means things like warp drive and 70-day-trips-to-Mars are right on the horizon, it's important to view this from a scientist's point of view. Here's what it will take to turn this from a speculative claim into a robust one.

+ - House panel holds hearing on 'politically driven science'—sans scientists->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Representative Louie Gohmert (R–TX) is worried that scientists employed by the U.S. government have been running roughshod over the rights of Americans in pursuit of their personal political goals. So this week Gohmert, the chair of the oversight and investigations subpanel of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee, held a hearing to explore “the consequences of politically driven science.” Notably absent, however, were any scientists, including those alleged to have gone astray.
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