Submission + - Texas & Florida vie for private lunar company Golden Spike to move from Col (

MarkWhittington writes: The Denver Post reported on July 12, 2013 that Texas and Florida, already embroiled in a fight over which state will be the venue for SpaceX’s commercial space port, are now vying to be the site of the headquarters of a company that, while smaller, has much loftier ambitions

Golden Spike, the Boulder, Colorado based company that proposes to start commercial space flights to the moon with paying customers, is being courted by Texas and Florida to leave Colorado and to relocate its headquarters in either state.

Submission + - Are Amazon Vine reviews of technical books a joke?

jasax writes: As an Amazon frequent buyer, I rely quite a lot on reviews of the books I want. However, some caution is in order: the (bad) quality of Amazon's reviews and reviewers under the Amazon Vine program has already been news in Slashdot.

Today I was shocked by a practical result of that program. This 2nd edition of a very specialized system identification book published in 2012 has 12 reviews: the oldest (dated 2007) certainly targets the 1st edition.

The remaining 11 reviews are all from "Vine Reviewers" (VRs). All seem to be ignorant of what really is "System Identification in the Frequency Domain". None of the reviews is tagged with a "Verified Amazon Purchase", most (if not all) are "small talk reviews" peppered with technical phrases cloning the publisher's book description, and some of the reviews are ridiculous, to say the least.

If this sample of reviewing by VRs really is the norm, then the bottom line is that the Vine program is totally irrelevant and unreliable — at least for technical books.

Submission + - Microsoft's Cooperation With NSA Either Voluntary, Or Reveals New Legal Tactic (

holy_calamity writes: When Microsoft re-engineered its online services to assist NSA surveillance programs, the company was either acting voluntarily, or under a new kind of court order, reports MIT Technology Review. Existing laws were believed to shelter companies from being forced to modify their systems to aid surveillance, but experts say the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court may now have a new interpretation. Microsoft's statement about its cooperation with NSA surveillance doesn't make it clear whether it acted under legal duress, or simply decided that to helping out voluntarily was in its best interest.

Submission + - Bose, founder of Bose Corporation has died at 83 (

countach44 writes: “Dr. Bose founded Bose Corporation almost 50 years ago with a set of guiding principles centered on research and innovation. That focus has never changed, and never will,” said Bob Maresca, president of Bose Corporation. “Bose Corporation will remain privately held, and stay true to Dr. Bose’s ideals. We are as committed to this as he was to us. Today and every day going forward, our hearts are with Dr. Bose; and we will do everything we can to make him proud of the company he built.”

Submission + - Google Ignores Attempt to Block Snowden Pardon Petition

An anonymous reader writes: I’ve been following the Edward Snowden – NSA saga the past week or so with fascination, as I suspect some of you are as well. Last night over dinner, my wife and I were pondering what might be the final outcome of this, depending what happens between Russia (or the left leaning Latin America) and the US in the coming days. I wondered – might there be any chance of an eventual pardon for Snowden from the White House on Obama’s last day in office? There must be some discussion of whether a pardon could be in the works or not, right? So I consulted the Oracle of Google, searching pardon Edward Snowden.

The number one organic result is a subdomain from This ‘petitions’ subdomain facilitates citizens to create, manage, and promote petitions to our government. If a petition receives more than 100,000 supporters then the administration has made a commitment to address the petition with a response on the matter in question.

What is immediately curious to any of us with a trained eye in search marketing is that the result from is ranking highly despite the page being marked disallowed by the subdomain’s robots.txt file.

Why is choosing to block search engines from indexing content of their petition pages, when these pages are created by the people and for the people to express and promote concerns to their government leaders? I cannot think of a good rationale for this. Can you?

I’ve created a petition page on to petition the Obama administration to remove the robots.txt disallow from petitions on their site. This action will promote the transparency and conduit for democracy in action that the web platform was created to serve in the first place.

Find the petition located here and pass this URL to your networks.

People may have trouble finding my new petition via search engines, so that will make it harder to achieve the 100,000 signatures to garner its due attention. Oh, the delicious irony

More details here and looking forward to all the /. comments.

Submission + - Amazon one-click extension snoops on SSL traffic

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon has their own PRISM program snooping on all your browser traffic, even SSL traffic through their one-click plugin.

As designed, the plugin reports every url you visit, including https ones to Amazon. It uses an XSS to provide some of its functionality. It also reports contents of some website visits to Alexa.

The Amazon plugin has also been exploited to allow an attacker to gain access to SSL traffic on browsers that have the plugin installed.

Submission + - Say What? The Overwhelming Nonsense in Microsoft's Reorganization Memo

curtwoodward writes: Steve Ballmer's attempt to reorganize Microsoft into a more focused company will define his legacy as CEO. So you'd think the wordsmiths in Redmond would take a little time ensuring their message was crystal-clear, right? Not exactly. Ballmer's big, gung-ho memo to Microsofties, posted on the company's website, is chock full of nonsense and corporate executive doublespeak — or, as Ballmer might say, `high-value experiences' that will `involve repartitioning the work' and `drive partners across our integrated strategy and its execution.' Huh?

Submission + - Container ship breaks in two, sinks

Cliff Stoll writes: Along with 7000 containers, ship MOL Comfort broke in half in high seas in the Indian Ocean. The aft section floated for a week, then sank on June 27th. The forward section was towed most of the way to port, but burned and sank on July 10th. This post-panamax ship was 316 meters long and only 5 years old. With a typical value of $40,000 per container, this amounts to a quarter billion dollar loss. The cause is unknown, but may be structural or perhaps due to overfilled containers that are declared as underweight. Of course, the software used to calculate ship stability relies upon these incorrect physical parameters.

Submission + - Mastermind of 9/11 Attacks Designs a Secret Vacuum Cleaner

HonorPoncaCityDotCom writes: AP reports that while confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, asked his jailers whether he could design a vacuum cleaner. After all KSM earned his bachelor's in mechanical engineering, the agency had no long-term plan for him, but might thought he might someday prove useful and might even stand trial one day and for that, he'd need to be sane. They were concerned that his long imprisonment might do so much psychological damage that he would no longer be useful as source for information. "We didn't want them to go nuts," said a former senior CIA official. So, using schematics from the Internet as his guide, Mohammed began re-engineering one of the most mundane of household appliances. It remains a mystery how far Mohammed got with his designs or whether the plans still exist and even Mohammed's military lawyer, Jason Wright, says he is prohibited from discussing his client's interest in vacuums. "It sounds ridiculous, but answering this question, or confirming or denying the very existence of a vacuum cleaner design, a Swiffer design, or even a design for a better hand towel would apparently expose the U.S. government and its citizens to exceptionally grave danger," says Wright. So now, says Doug Mataconis, if you happen to start seeing ads for the CIA’s revolutionary new home cleaning device, you’ll know where it came from.

Submission + - Chromebooks appear to be Selling (

puddingebola writes: A number of different websites are commenting on NPD's consumer research numbers that claim Chromebooks are getting 20-25% of the sub-$300 PC market. From the article, "The NPD says that Google’s Chromebook has now gained 20 to 25 percent of the sub-$300 laptop market in the U.S. That’s a huge gain for a computer that’s only been on the market for two years. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Chromebooks were seen as nothing but a self-serving experiment on the part of Google for the first year of their existence." Stephen Vaughan-Nichols is also blogging about this over at ZDnet. While the PC market shrank again in the second quarter of 2013, Chromebooks seem to have grown.

Submission + - Linux 3.11 features (

hypnosec writes: Linux 3.11 merge window is about to close, most probably this Sunday, and most of the pull requests have been merged including feature additions and improvements to disk & file system, CPU, graphics and other hardware. Some notable merges are LZ4 compression, Zswap for compressed swap caching, inclusion of Lustre file-system client for the first time, Dynamic Power Management (DPM) support for R600 GPUs, KVM and Xen virtualization on 64-bit hardware (AArch64), and new DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) driver for the Renesas R-Car SoC.

Submission + - 787 Dreamliner On Fire Again

Antipater writes: It looks like there's more trouble afoot for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner: London's Heathrow Airport has been shut down as fire crews attend to a "suspected fire" on a Dreamliner owned by Ethiopia Airlines.

Aerial pictures of the scene on the U.K.'s Sky News showed the new plane — which was not carrying passengers at the time — had been sprayed by foam, but there were no signs of fire.
The aircraft was not blocking either runway, but with all the airport's fire crews tacking the Boeing 787 incident, authorities were forced to suspend departures and arrivals because of safety rules.

Submission + - eBay Exact Launches On iOS, Lets You Buy 3D-Printed Products

An anonymous reader writes: eBay has announced a new iOS app called eBay Exact that lets you buy customizable 3D-printed merchandise on the go. You can download the new addition now directly from Apple's App Store. The products in question are available from three leading 3D printing companies, according to eBay: Brooklyn-based MakerBot, France-based Sculpteo, and Toronto, Canada-based Hot Pop Factory. Currently, customers can choose from only about 20 items, ranging from technology accessories to jewelry, but that number is likely to grow fairly quickly.

Submission + - NHS Fined After Computer Holding Paitent Records Found On eBay (

judgecorp writes: NHS Surrey, part of Britain's health service, has been fined £200,000 when a computer holding more than 3000 patient records was found for sale on eBay.. The system was retired, and given to a contractor who promised to dispose of it securely for free, in exchange for any salvage value... but clearly just put the whole system up for sale.

Submission + - Google Raises Campaign Funds for Climate Change Denier

HonorPoncaCityDotCom writes: Alex Altman reports at Time Magazine that Google recently hosted a fundraiser for Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, one of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans and a staunch opponent of EPA regulations who authored a treatise called “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future," thinks the Bible disproves global warming, and once denounced the “arrogance” of scientists who suggest that “we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate.” What prompted Google to host a fund raiser where attendees shelled out up to $2,500 for lunch with Inhofe? A data center that Google operates in Pryor, Oklahoma. “Google runs a significant operation that provides around 100 jobs,” says Rusty Appleton, Inhofe’s campaign manager. “The Senator had an opportunity to tour the facilities in May of last year, and is committed to ensuring that Oklahoma remains a great place to do business.” A Google spokesperson says the company regularly hosts fundraisers for candidates of all stripes, even when Google disagrees with some of their policies — as it does with Inhofe on climate change. This explanation didn’t wash with the activists outside Google’s D.C. headquarters near K Street. “What’s their slogan? ‘Don’t be evil’?” asked Eric Anderson, a software engineer from Silver Spring, Md. “If they’re doing things to further damage our planet, well, that’s pretty evil in my book.”

Submission + - Oops! Japanese Gov't Shares Internal Email Over Google Groups (

itwbennett writes: An official at Japan's Ministry of the Environment created a Google Group to share email and documents related to Japan's negotiations during a meeting held in Geneva in January, but used the default privacy settings, which left the exchanges wide open. According to Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, over 6,000 items, including private contact information of government officials, was publicly accessible. Michihiru Oi, a ministry official, said the ministry has its own system for creating groups and sharing documents, but it doesn't always function well outside of Japan, sometimes leading to 'poor connections' and a 'bad working environment.'

Submission + - Kremlin security agency to buy typewriters 'to avoid leaks

Presto Vivace writes: Russia's agency responsible for the Kremlin security is buying typewriters — a move reportedly prompted by recent leaks by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden.

"After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposes by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being bugged during his visit to the G20 London summit (in 2009), it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents," the source said.

Snowden's service consists of informing Americans what is being done in our name. If he has panicked the Russians into abandoning their computers that is so much extra goodness.

Submission + - Aussie company Telstra agrees to spy for America ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Australian Telecommunications Giant Telstra has for a decade been storing huge volumes of electronic communications carried between Asia and America for surveillance by United States intelligence agencies. This includes not just the metadata, but the actual content of emails, online messages and phone calls. With the blessing of the Australian government Telstra agreed to route data through a "US point of contact through a secure storage facility on US soil that was staffed exclusively by US citizens". The contract was prompted by Telstra's decision to expand its business in Asia by taking control of hundreds of kilometres of undersea telecommunications cables. The deal started under the Liberal Party and continued under Labor. The Greens have demanded an explanation.

Submission + - Microsoft assisting FBI and NSA in decrypting encrypted messages (

Taco Cowboy writes: The latest scoop from Edward Snowden's release is how Microsoft has handed NSA and FBI access to email messages, files stored on SkyDrive, audios (telephone calls on Skype) and videos (also from Skype).

Nothing is sacred anymore, it seems.

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new portal;

The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on, including Hotmail;

The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

Submission + - Italian team cures Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome with the help of the HIV virus

tchernobog writes: An Italian team funded by Telethon and S. Raffaele of Milan, was able to cure six kids affected by lethal genetic diseases (in Italian, English video): the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome and the metachromatic leukodystrophy. This is the culmination of a project lasted 15 years, and which cost more than 30M €; the researchers have published some preliminary results last year on Nature, and are waiting for the results on more patients to submit another.

The really interesting part is, they used a mix of advanced genic techniques to achieve this result. Firstly, the DNA of a defective cell is corrected with a gene first assembled in the lab. This procedure has always been very dangerous for the past 20 years: the fact that it can be used is a good achievement alone. Secondly, the corrected DNA is propagated in the patient body using a stripped-down version of the HIV virus, of which less than 10% of its original genome remains.

Might the feared HIV virus in reality prove to be salvation for some?

Submission + - Snowden: Microsoft's NSA Cooperation Closer than Acknowledged

guttentag writes: Classified documents Edward Snowden has released to the Guardian newspaper show Microsoft helped the NSA circumvent its encryption on, worked with the FBI to allow Prism access to SkyDrive and to study how users create email aliases. The NSA documents claim that Prism tripled its collection of Skype video calls nine months after Microsoft bought the service, and that the NSA shares data from Prism with the FBI and CIA as a "team sport." Microsoft launched a new "Your Privacy Is Our Priority" marketing campaign just days before Snowden left Hawaii for Hong Kong. The NY Times also has a story on the release.

Submission + - Analysis Makes Case that Gladwell's Culture & Air Crashes Analysis Badly Fla (

Koreantoast writes: As a recent Slashdot article showed, interest in Malcolm Gladwell's theory on the impact of culture on airline crashes has come up again following the tragic accident of Asiana Flight 214. Yet how good was Gladwell's analysis of the Korean Air Flight 801 accident which is the basis of his theory? A recent analysis by the popular Ask a Korean! blog shows serious flaws in Gladwell's presentation: ignorance of the power dynamics amongst the flight crew, mischaracterizations of Korean Air's flight accident record (three of the seven deadly incidents characterized as "accidents" were actually military attacks or terrorism) and manipulative omissions in the pilot transcripts to falsely portray the situation. "Even under the most kindly light, Gladwell is guilty of reckless and gross negligence. Under a harsher light, Gladwell's work on the connection between culture and plane crashes is a shoddy fraud." Perhaps Gladwell should have asked a Korean before the chapter.

Submission + - Aussie Telco Telstra Storing Data For US Government ( 1

beaverdownunder writes: Fairfax Media is reporting today that Australian telecommunications giant Telstra agreed more than a decade ago to store huge volumes of electronic communications it carried between Asia and America for potential surveillance by United States intelligence agencies.

Under the previously secret agreement, the telco was required to route all communications involving a US point of contact through a secure storage facility on US soil that was staffed exclusively by US citizens carrying a top-level security clearance.

The US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation also demanded that Telstra "provide technical or other assistance to facilitate ... electronic surveillance".

The revelations come as the British and US governments reel from the leaking of sensitive intelligence material that has detailed a vast electronic spying apparatus being used against foreign nationals and their own citizens.

Submission + - Video Streaming For The Elderly

ChrisC1234 writes: My grandparents are getting older and don't get out much anymore, and with the demise of video stores (and not even understanding what a RedBox is), they don't see movies anymore. They've got internet access, so I'm thinking of getting them a streaming appliance and a Netflix account. So I'm wondering what device is the easiest for elderly people to use. I'm thinking either a Roku or Apple TV, but open to other options. It just needs to be easy to navigate and support closed captioning. Has anyone else done this successfully?

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