Submission + - Mechanical Turk swarm + algorithms detects lies, predicts future (

gurps_npc writes: Take a swarm of humans (for the wisdom of crowds), have them make quick decisions, throw in algorithms and you get an interesting technique to both predict the future and detect lies. This technique combines the logical skills of computers with the creative/perceptive skills of humans to make better decisions than either alone.

Submission + - The Founding Fathers Encrypted Secret Messages, Too (

cdreimer writes: With the recent death of author Jerry Pournelle, I recalled meeting him at BayCon 2006 (San Jose, CA). On a panel about whether the Founding Fathers would support data encryption even though the U.S. Constitution doesn't mention encryption technologies, he explained that the Founding Fathers would support using encryption as they were already using ciphers — shifting letters in a message — to conceal their communications from the British government before, during and after the American Revolution. An article in The Atlantic that came out earlier this year explained how extensively the Founding Fathers used encryption to protect personal and official communications from spies at home and around the world.

Thomas Jefferson is known for a lot of things—writing the Declaration of Independence, founding the University of Virginia, owning hundreds of slaves despite believing in the equality of men—but his place as the “Father of American Cryptography” is not one of them. As a youth in the Virginia colony, Jefferson encrypted letters to a confidante about the woman he loved. While serving as the third president of the newly formed United States, he tried to institute an impossibly difficult cipher for communications about the Louisiana Purchase. He even designed an intricate mechanical system for coding text that was more than a century ahead of its time. Cryptography was no parlor game for the idle classes, but a serious business for revolutionary-era statesmen who, like today’s politicians and spies, needed to conduct their business using secure messaging. Codes and ciphers involving rearranged letters, number substitutions, and other now-quaint methods were the WhatsApp, Signal, and PGP keys of the era.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What uses for an abandoned Windows Phone? 4

unixisc writes: While it's always been well known that Windows phones in the market have always floundered, one saving grace has always been that one could at least use it for the barest minimum of apps, even if updates have stopped. But Microsoft has finally proved that wrong by dealing a death blow to the platform: removing WiFi capabilities. I had been using that for other things in existing apps, but yesterday, when I found that I could no longer access the Internet without using cellular data, I switched that phone to another old Android I have.

Aside from a door stop or a hand me down to someone who'll use it like a dumb phone, what are your suggested uses for this phone? A music player (if the songs are on an SD card)? Games? As far as phones go, I have what I need, so for this, anything it's good for?

Submission + - DNA proves fearsome Viking warrior was a woman (

sciencehabit writes: A 10th century Viking unearthed in the 1880s was like a figure from Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries: an elite warrior buried with a sword, an ax, a spear, arrows, a knife, two shields, and a pair of warhorses. And like a mythical valkyrie, a new study finds that the warrior was a woman—the first high-status female Viking warrior to be identified. Excavators first uncovered the battle-ready body among several thousand Viking graves near the Swedish town of Birka, but for 130 years, most assumed it was a man—known only by the grave identifier, Bj 581. A few female Viking soldiers have been unearthed over the years, but none had the trappings of high rank found in the Birka burial—not just weapons and armor, but also game pieces and a board used for planning tactics.

Submission + - Petition congress: Better Protections for US Citizen's Identity (PII) - #equifax (

Tora writes: This Petition is to raise visibility to the real issue. The Equifax problem highlights a gaping hole we have in the USA around PII protection. The free market will not fix this situation because the people they collect the data on are unwilling customers for the credit reporting agencies. We have no choice to opt out let alone easily manage our data, and those who buy the credit scores (i.e. credit lenders) are not affected when there is a breach.

Calls for lynching Equifax will not help citizens any, and the corporations will continue to raid and pillage our identities. Expecting these agencies to just "be better" is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.

Submission + - Jerry Pournelle 1933-2017 (

tengu1sd writes: Jerry Pournelle died in his sleep 8 Sep 2017. Fiction and technical reviews may be the reason he's known here. Pournelle was a former Army officer who served in the Korean War, science adviser to Newt Gingrich, an analyst for the DoD touching just a few of his activities. His public appearances showed preparation and thoughtful exchange of ideas. Frequently loud, but well reasoned.

Submission + - Jerry Pournelle dies aged 84

Dynamoo writes: Author and commentator Jerry Pournelle has died aged 84. A prolific science fiction writer in his own right, he was a long-time collaborator with Larry Niven leading to such classics as Footfall, but we was also a tech writer and the long-running Chaos Manor articles were a staple of Byte magazine. Pournelle's right-wing politics sometimes put him at odds with his fans, but his understanding of political systems always attracted interest and comment.

Submission + - RIP Jerry Pournelle

thadtheman writes: With great sadness I annnounce that science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle has passed away.

Not only prolific in his own right, he also often pair with Larry Niven ( and occasionally Stephen Barnes ) to create some great award winning science fiction. He was also helped promote the microcomputer revolution, writing one of the most popular computer columns for Byte magazine, Chaos Manor

His passing is a great loss.

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