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Submission + - Brazil Orders Google To Hand Over Street View data (

cold fjord writes: France 24 reports, "Brazilian judges have given US Internet search giant Google until Saturday to turn over private data collected through its Street View program ... Failure to do so would mean a daily fine of $50,000, up to a maximum of $500,000. ... According to a complaint from the Brazilian Institute of Computer Policy and Rights (IBDI), the car-borne software also enables Street View to access private wi-fi networks and intercept personal data and electronic communications. IBDI pointed to similar occurences in other parts of the world and demanded that Google reveal if it had engaged in such practices. It said Google had admitted collecting data while insisting they were not used "in its products and services. The US search engine stressed that it had now removed the data collection software from its vehicles."

Submission + - CIA Pays AT&T Millions to Voluntarily Provide Call Data

binarstu writes: The New York Times reports that 'The C.I.A. is paying AT&T more than $10 million a year to assist with overseas counterterrorism investigations by exploiting the company’s vast database of phone records, which includes Americans’ international calls, according to government officials. The cooperation is conducted under a voluntary contract, not under subpoenas or court orders compelling the company to participate, according to the officials.'

Submission + - Slackware Linux 14.1 Released

An anonymous reader writes: The world's oldest Linux distribution currently being maintained has released yet another version! According to the official announcement, Slackware 14.1 includes the following: "Slackware 14.1 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.10.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and KDE 4.10.5, a recent stable release of the 4.10.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment." Installation ISOs can be found here.

Submission + - Rule of Three Or Yawn? Third Tesla Fire Means Feds to Begin Review

cartechboy writes: Where there is some smoke is there fire? Or, put it this way — when there is fire is there definitely fire? Quick Tesla review: In early October, a Tesla caught on fire in Washington state — and that created a little bit of a stir. Then just before Halloween a second Tesla caught fire. Yesterday,a third Model S caught fire in Tennessee. With the third fire in the books, all happening in similar fashion, today federal investigators are saying they are going to take a look at the situation more closely. As the electric car maker's stock shares continue to tumble, some are saying, 'yawn — it happens.' But three times?

Submission + - Facebook Open-Sources Its Presto SQL Query Engine (

Nerval's Lobster writes: Facebook stores its warehouse data in a set of enormous Hadoop/HDFS-based clusters. That helps the social network wrestle with the enormous amounts of user information it needs to store and analyze every day; but at a certain point (namely, once the warehouse grew to petabyte scale), its network administrators decided they needed something other than Hadoop MapReduce and Hive to process that data in a fully optimized way. Enter Presto, Facebook’s very own distributed SQL query engine designed with a focus on speed. The platform supports standard ANSI SQL, which means it’s capable of everything from complex queries and aggregations to joins and window functions. Presto also boasts scalability and flexibility; for example, with the addition of key plugins, it can handle Facebook data not stored in HDFS clusters, such as HBase and custom systems. It doesn’t rely on MapReduce for processing, which allows it to process queries at speed. Facebook engineers began developing Presto near the end of 2012 and rolled it out to the entire company the following spring; employees currently use it to process roughly 30,000 queries (totaling around one petabyte of data) per day. And now that the platform’s stable enough, Facebook is open-sourcing it via Github and a dedicated Website. Now all you need is an enormous amount of data that threatens to overwhelm your current setup.

Submission + - Google To block Local Chrome Extensions On Windows Starting In January

An anonymous reader writes: Google today announced it will block local Chrome extensions starting in January, but only on the Windows platform. This means that next year, Windows users will only be able to install extensions for the company’s browser from the Chrome Web Store. The changes will affect both Chrome’s stable and beta channels on Windows. Google says it will continue to support local extension installs on its Dev and Canary channels, as well as installs via Enterprise policy. Chrome apps are not affected at all and will continue to be supported normally.

Submission + - 'War Room' notes describe IT chaos at (

dcblogs writes: U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has released 175 pages of "War Room" notes — a collection of notes by federal officials dealing with the problems at They start Oct. 1, the launch day. The War Room notes catalog IT problems — dashboards weren't showing data, servers didn't have the right production data, third party systems weren't connecting to verify data, a key contractor had trouble logging on, and there wasn't enough server capacity to handle the traffic, or enough people on the help desks to answer calls. To top it off, some personnel needed for the effort were furloughed because of the shutdown. Volunteers were needed to work weekends, but there were bureaucratic complications. According to one note: "Donna's comp time approver is furloughed."

Submission + - Spooked by his Scifi, FBI looked into Isaac Asimov as possible communist tipster (

v3rgEz writes: By September 14, 1960, Isaac Asimov had been a professor of biochemistry Boston University for 11 years, and his acclaimed "I, Robot" collection of short stories was on its seventh reprint. This was also the day someone not-so-subtly accused him of communist sympathies in a letter to J. Edgar Hoover.

They ominously concluded that “Asimov may be quite all right. On the other hand . . . . .”

The "tip off" wasn't given much credit, but it didn't matter since Asimov's science fiction writing alone was enough to warrant FBI monitoring, particularly as the FBI hunted for the mysterious ROBPROF, a communist informant embedded in American academia.

MuckRock has Isaac Asimov's FBI files in full, and a write up of the more interesting bits.

Submission + - FDA moves to ban trans fats from food (

mschaffer writes: The U.S. FDA ruled for the first time that trans fats aren't generally considered safe in foods.
So, in the future you may not be able to enjoy that box of HoHo's after smoking that newly-legalized marijuana.

Submission + - Critics Reassess 'Starship Troopers' as a Misunderstood Masterpiece 2

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Calum Marsh writes in The Atlantic that when Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers hit theaters 16 years ago today, American critics slammed it as a “crazed, lurid spectacle” featuring “raunchiness tailor-made for teen-age boys" and “a nonstop splatterfest so devoid of taste and logic that it makes even the most brainless summer blockbuster look intelligent.” But now the reputation of the movie based on Robert Heinlein's Hugo award winning novel is beginning to improve as critics begin to recognize the film as a critique of the military-industrial complex, the jingoism of American foreign policy, and a culture that privileges reactionary violence over sensitivity and reason. "Starship Troopers is satire, a ruthlessly funny and keenly self-aware sendup of right-wing militarism," writes Marsh. "The fact that it was and continues to be taken at face value speaks to the very vapidity the movie skewers." The movie has rightfully come to be appreciated by some as an unsung masterpiece. Coming in at number 20 on Slant Magazine’s list of the 100 best films of the 1990s last year, the site’s Phil Coldiron described it as “one of the greatest of all anti-imperialist films,” a parody of Hollywood form whose superficial “badness” is central to its critique. "That concept is stiob, which I'll crudely define as a form of parody requiring such a degree of over-identification with the subject being parodied that it becomes impossible to tell where the love for that subject ends and the parody begins," writes Coldiron. "If you’re prepared for the rigor and intensity of Verhoeven’s approach—you’ll get the joke Starship Troopers is telling," says Marsh. "And you’ll laugh."

Submission + - Google Is Testing A Program That Tracks You Everywhere You Go (

cold fjord writes: Business Insider reports, "Google is beta-testing a program that tracks users’ purchasing habits by registering brick-and-mortar store visits via smartphones, according to a report from Digiday. Google can access user data via Android apps or their Apple iOS apps, like Google search, Gmail, Chrome, or Google Maps. If a customer is using these apps while he shops or has them still running in the background, Google’s new program pinpoints the origin of the user data and determines if the customer is in a place of business. Google gets permission to do this kind of tracking when ... users opt in to the “location services” ... The program was hinted at in an AdWords blog post from Oct. 1 regarding Google’s new “estimated total conversions” initiative. A “conversion” in this sense is a purchase, and Google is developing ways to track users across desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Google also mentioned that tracking conversions via phone calls is in the works ..."

Submission + - Bitcoin (Probably) Isn't Broken

Trailrunner7 writes: In the wake of the publication of a new academic paper that says there is a fundamental flaw in the Bitcoin protocol that could allow a small cartel of participants to become powerful enough that it could take over the mining process and gather a disproportionate amount of the value in the system, researchers are debating the potential value of the attack and whether it’s actually practical in the real world. The paper, published this week by researchers at Cornell University, claims that Bitcoin is broken, but critics say there’s a foundational flaw in the paper’s assertions.

Bitcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency that depends upon the honesty of its users to publish each of their transactions in a central, public ledger. The Cornell paper, written by Ittay Eyal and Emin Gun Sirer, says that if a group controls one third of the Bitcoin mining resources, it can then begin mining “selfishly” mine blocks and keep them secret from the rest of the miners. Then, when the chain that this group has mined is longer than the public one, it can publish its chain and have the authoritative one, since Bitcoin will always ignore the shorter block chain when there’s a fork.

The idea of a majority of Bitcoin miners joining together to dominate the system isn’t new, but the Cornell researchers say that a smaller pool of one third of the miners could achieve the same result, and that once they have, there would be a snowball effect with other miners joining this cartel to increase their own piece of the pie. However, other researchers have taken issue with this analysis, saying that it wouldn’t hold together in the real world.

“The most serious flaw, perhaps, is that, contrary to their claims, a coalition of ES-miners [selfish miners] would not be stable, because members of the coalition would have an incentive to cheat on their coalition partners, by using a strategy that I’ll call fair-weather mining,” Ed Felten, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University and director of the Center for Information Technology Policy, wrote in an analysis of the paper.

Submission + - "Dance Your PhD" Finalists Announced (

sciencehabit writes: Science Magazine has posted the 12 finalist videos from its annual Dance Your PhD contest. The contest asks scientists from around the world to send in videos of themselves interpreting their research in dance form. As usual, this year's finalists have gone all out with some wacky, fun, and just plain bizarre videos. You can vote for your favorite, with the winner and reader's choice announced on November 21.

Submission + - French Court Orders Google To Block Pics and Links of Max Mosley (

Virtucon writes: This one goes to the old adage "closing the stable door after the horse bolted." A French court on Wednesday ruled that Google must remove from its search results photos of a former Formula One racing chief, Max Mosley, participating in an Nazi-themed orgy. Google could be fined up to 1,000 Euros/day for not complying. What's strange here is that Mosley A) Sued in a French Court B) Didn't go after anybody else other than Google and C) has definitely strange tastes in extracurricular activities. In this day and age it's laughable to think that once your private photos/videos hit the Internet that you have any expectation of reigning them in or filtering the embarrassing parts out. Google isn't the only game in town so to speak in terms of Internet search. I wonder if his lawyers checked out Yahoo or WebCrawler? Of course Google plans to appeal the decision to ... be able to show pics of an old man getting er um never mind...

Submission + - Want a petabyte of mobile data? That'll be £8m, please (

nk497 writes: UK mobile operator EE has unveiled a new mobile data plan for businesses: the world's first petabyte data bundle. The petabyte bundle – one million gigabytes – costs a cool £8m, but according to EE it could save companies, such as broadcasters, that rely on data millions of pounds in the long term by using mobile connections instead of satellites. "Satellite uplink costs range from £20/GB for data transfer," it says. "Super Bundles, costing £8 per gigabyte for a petabyte of data, could save broadcasters as much as £12 million when using that amount of data."

Submission + - Internet Archive Burns (

Rambo Tribble writes: The San Francisco building housing the Internet Archive, and its popular Wayback Machine, has suffered a serious fire. While no archived data was destroyed, materials awaiting archival were. Rebuilding with be a major undertaking, and the group is soliciting donations.

Submission + - Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster (

Nerval's Lobster writes: A government official who helped oversee the bug-riddled Website has resigned his post. Tony Trenkle, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees, will reportedly join the private sector after he departs on November 15. A spokesperson for the Medicare agency refused to say whether he had been forced out, telling reporters: “Tony made a decision that he was going to move to the private sector and that is what our COO announced yesterday.” Because of his supervisory role, Trenkle is considered a significant player in the Website’s development; The New York Times indicated that he was one of two federal officials who signed an internal memo suggesting that security protocols for the Website weren’t in place as recently as late September, a few days before’s launch.Following Trenkle’s resignation, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted to the Senate Finance Committee that would require hundreds of fixes. “We’re not where we need to be,” she said. “It’s a pretty aggressive schedule to get to the entire punch list by the end of November.” Sebelius added that she was ultimately accountable for what she termed the “excruciatingly awful” rollout. has experienced massive problems since its Oct. 1 debut. In addition to repeated crashes and slow performance, the Website’s software often prevents people from setting up accounts. President Obama has expressed intense frustration with the situation, but insists the Affordable Care Act (ACA) backing the Website remains strong. “The essence of the law, the health insurance that’s available to people is working just fine,” he told reporters in October. “The problem has been that the website that’s supposed to make it easy to apply for insurance hasn’t been working.” While the federal government won’t release ‘official” enrollment numbers until the end of November, but it’s clear that the Website’s backers are losing the battle of public perception.

Submission + - Protect Your Android Phone By Killing All Its Crapware (

jfruh writes: Like Windows, Android has built a dominant market share because any hardware manufacturer can license it — and as they did with Windows, those manufacturers are loading up Android devices with their own proprietary crapware. Although the process is a bit convoluted, you can get this crapware off your phone — and in doing so you'll actually make the device more secure.

Submission + - Bruce Schneier wants to make surveillance costly again (

alphadogg writes: The ongoing revelations of governmental electronic spying point to a problem larger than National Security Agency malfeasance, or even of security weaknesses. Rather the controversy arising from Edward Snowden's leaked documents suggest we face unresolved issues around data ownership, argues security expert Bruce Schneier. "Fundamentally, this is a debate about data sharing, about surveillance as a business model, about the dichotomy of the societal benefits of big data versus the individual risks of personal data," Schneier told attendees of the Usenix LISA Conference being held in Washington this week. "We might not buy [it], but the basic NSA argument is 'You must give us your data because it is keeping you safe.'" Schneier has been an outspoken critic of the NSA since Snowden first leaked documents showing the many ways in which the intelligence agency had tapped into the Internet and data centers to collect data en masse about people's activities.

Submission + - Scientists Says Jellyfish Are Taking Over the Oceans

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Karla Cripps reports at CNN that a combination of overfishing, warming water, low oxygen and pollution are creating perfect conditions for jellyfish to multiply. "The jellyfish seem to be the ones that are flourishing in this while everything else is suffering," says Australian jellyfish researcher Lisa-ann Gershwin. In 2000, a bloom of sea tomato jellyfish in Australia was so enormous — it stretched for more than 1,000 miles from north to south — that it was even visible from space. While most blooms are not quite that big, Gershwin's survey of research on jellyfish from the last few decades indicate that populations are most likely on the rise, and that this boom is taking place in an ocean that is faced with overfishing, acid rain, nutrient pollution from fertilizers and climate change, among other problems. This past summer, southern Europe experienced one of its worst jellyfish infestations ever. Experts there have been reporting a steady increase in the number of jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea for years. With more than 2,000 species of jellyfish swimming through the world's waters, most stings are completely harmless, some will leave you in excruciating pain, then there are the killers. There are several species of big box jellyfish that have caused many deaths — these include chironex fleckeri in Australia, known as the "most lethal jellyfish in the world whose sting can kill in three minutes. "Just the lightest brush — you don't even feel it — and then, whammo, you're in more pain than you ever could have imagined, and you are struggling to breathe and you can't move your limbs and you can't stop vomiting and your blood pressure just keeps going up and up," says Gershwin. "It is really surprising how many places they occur around the world — places you would never expect: Hawaii, Caribbean, Florida, Wales, New Caledonia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, India ... as well as Australia."

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