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Government

Submission + - Lawmaker seeks 'virtual Congress' with telecommuting plan (thehill.com)

schwit1 writes: Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) wants to create a "virtual Congress," where lawmakers would leverage videoconferencing and other remote work technology to conduct their daily duties in Washington from their home districts.

Under a resolution Pearce introduced on Thursday, lawmakers would be able to hold hearings, debate and vote on legislation virtually from their district offices.

The big loser would be the DC area and K Street in particular. The change would also be a double-edged sword for security.

Bitcoin

Submission + - Canadian man to sell home for Bitcoin virtual currency (www.cbc.ca)

An anonymous reader writes: "It's not often that Canadian real estate listings make international headlines, but a mid-sized Alberta bungalow has people around the world buzzing today after its owner declared that he would like to sell it — for Bitcoins. If successful, 22-year-old entrepreneur Taylor More would be the first person ever to accept the fast-rising virtual currency in exchange for property. "My home is being traded for Bitcoins!" reads the listing for More's "quaint" two bedroom home in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. "Properties like this rarely come on the market and this one's priced to sell in one of the most sought after recreation areas of the Rockies." The property is listed for $405,000 CDN, but More writes that "the price can be reduced" if a buyer has some Bitcoins to spare." eh, -ZU

Submission + - Computer Simulations Yield Clues to How Cells Interact with Surroundings

An anonymous reader writes: Your cells are social butterflies. They constantly interact with their surroundings, taking in cues on when to divide and where to anchor themselves, among other critical tasks. This networking is driven in part by proteins called integrin, which reside in a cell’s outer plasma membrane. Their job is to convert mechanical forces from outside the cell into internal chemical signals that tell the cell what to do. That is, when they work properly. When they misfire, integrins can cause diseases such as atherosclerosis and several types of cancer.
Android

Submission + - KDE's Calligra office suite for Android released (kde.org)

jrepin writes: "Coffice is a new project that tries to make KDE's Calligra office suite available on mobile platforms like Android, Blackberry 10, Jolla SailfishOS and Ubuntu Phone. Calligra already has some presence on smartphones, since document viewer on Nokia N9 is based on it. The first release brings Calligra Words viewer for OpenDocument Text documents and is currently available for Android only. Plans for later releases include viewers for spredsheets and presentations. Editing and saving as well as support for proprietary Microsoft Office formats are coming later."

Submission + - 9th Circuit affirms IsoHunt decision, no DMCA safe harbor (uscourts.gov)

crankyspice writes: "The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed, in Columbia Pictures Industries v. Fung (docket no. 10-55946), the summary judgment and injunctions against Gary Fung and his IsoHunt (and 3d2k-it) websites, finding liability for secondary copyright infringement for the sites' users' BitTorrent (and eDonkey) file sharing, under the 'inducement' theory (set forth by the Supreme Court in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster Ltd. , 545 U.S. 913 (2005)). The injunctions were left largely intact, with modifications required to make it more clear to the defendants what BitTorrent (etc) related activity they're enjoined from."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - 2012 Free Software Award Winners Announced (fsf.org)

jrepin writes: "Free Software Foundation president Richard M. Stallman announced the winners of the FSF's annual Free Software Awards at a ceremony held during the LibrePlanet 2013 conference. The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is given annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software. This year, it was given to Dr. Fernando Perez, the creator of IPython, a rich architecture for interactive computing. The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life. This award stresses the use of free software in the service of humanity. This year, the award went to OpenMRS, a free software medical record system for developing countries."

Submission + - ICANN Reveals Regional Winners of New gTLD (paritynews.com)

hypnosec writes: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved and released a list domain names as per its new global Top Level Domain (gTLD) plans. A total of 27 domain names have been cleared for use by ICANN and all of them are non-English domain names. Comprising of Chinese and Arabic names, the domain names seem to be mostly for regional companies; among which prominent are .Qatartelecom and .Mozaic domains.
Government

Submission + - US Senate passes national Internet sales tax mandate (itworld.com)

SonicSpike writes: "The U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding proposal to allow states to collect sales tax on Internet sellers that have no presence within their borders.

The proposal was an amendment to a 2014 budget bill that the Senate debated Friday. It was pushed by Senators Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, and Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and was designed to give backers a sense of whether they had enough votes to push forward with final legislation to impose an Internet sales tax.

The vote showed they have plenty of backing to overcome any filibuster seeking to block a final sales tax bill."

Linux

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: new to Linux, which build? (archlinux.org) 3

An anonymous reader writes: I'm a very new user to Linux looking for a distro that allows me to control and customize, but I'm not sure where to start. I had a friend install Ubuntu 12.04 on my computer, with the E17 window manager and somehow I managed to crash it during the copying of some non-important files and now my computer won't boot (the hardware's fine though). I've found descriptions of Arch Linux to be spot on to what I'm looking for and want ( /. user serviscope_minor mentioned Arch a couple weeks ago and it caught my attention), but my experience in the terminal is literally about an hour.
That said, I really want to learn more, don't mind hard work, enjoy challenges, and am perfectly willing to spend hours and hours for months on end to learn command line.
I grew up in Windows, and these days use a notebook running an old version of Ubuntu with GNOME exclusively--I'm comfortable in the GUI of Linux systems, but that doesn't translate into any kind of behind-the-scenes ability...
Any suggestions, projects to start with, books to read, or tutorials to do to try would be appreciated.

Power

Submission + - 'Energy Beet' Power is Coming to America

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Gosia Wonzniacka reports that farmers in Fresno County, California, supported by university experts and a $5 million state grant, are set to start construction of the nation's first commercial-scale bio-refinery to turn beets into biofuel with farmers saying the so-called 'energy beets' can deliver ethanol yields more than twice those of corn per acre because beets have a higher sugar content per ton than corn. "We're trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to shift our transportation fuels to a lower carbon content," says Robert Weisenmiller. "The beets have the potential to provide that." Europe already has more than a dozen such plants, so the bio-refinery would resurrect a crop that has nearly vanished. The birthplace of the sugar beet industry, California once grew over 330,000 acres of the gnarly root vegetable (PDF), with 11 sugar mills processing the beets but as sugar prices collapsed, the mills shut down. So what’s the difference between sugar beets and energy beets? To produce table sugar, producers are looking for sucrose, sucrose and more sucrose. Energy beets, on the other hand, contain multiple sugars, meaning sucrose as well as glucose, fructose and other minor sugars, called invert sugars. To create energy beet hybrids, plant breeders select for traits such as high sugar yield, not just sucrose production. America's first commercial energy beet bio-refinery will be capable of producing 40 million gallons of ethanol annually but the bio-refinery will also bring jobs and investment putting about 80 beet growers and 35,000 acres back into production. "This project is about rural development. It's about bringing a better tax base to this area and bringing jobs for the people," says farmer John Diener,"
Google

Submission + - Nokia Officially Lists Patents Google's VP8 Allegedly Infringes (ietf.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Google just settled video codec patent claims with MPEG LA and its VP8 format, which it wants to be elevated to an Internet standard, already faces the next round of patent infringement allegations. Nokia submitted an IPR declaration to the Internet Engineering Task Force listing 64 issued patents and 22 pending patent applications it believes are essential to VP8. To add insult to injury, Nokia's declaration to the IETF says NO to royalty-free licensing and also NO to FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing. Nokia reserves the right to sue over VP8 and to seek sales bans without necessarily negotiating a license deal. Two of the 86 declared IPRs are already being asserted in Mannheim, Germany, where Nokia is suing HTC in numerous patent infringement cases. A first VP8-related trial took place on March 8 and the next one is scheduled for June 14. In related Nokia-Google patent news, the Finns are trying to obtain a U.S. import ban against HTC to force it to disable tethering (or, more likely, to pay up).
Cloud

Submission + - A glimpse of a truly elastic cloud (erlangonxen.org) 1

cloudozer writes: "Virtual servers in the future may stop using OS entirely. As recently demonstrated OS-less platforms may change our understanding of how long does it take to bring a server up. A demo server gets created, booted up, configured, runs an application and shuts down in under 1 second. Radically lower startup latency means that the computing infrastructure may be woven striclty on demand, during the processing window alloted for a given request. Currently cloud providers round an instance uptime to the full hour when calculating charges. They might need to switch to per second billing if OS-less instances get traction. The demo uses a new Erlang runtime system capable of running directly on Xen hypervisor."
Privacy

Submission + - How to simplify online privacy? 1

MotorMachineMercenar writes: Google moving all their services under the same TOS was the final straw for me, and I started taking my online privacy seriously. My resolve has been reinvigorated due to reports of people getting on no-fly lists due to tasteless jokes online, fired for jokes overheard in meatspace reported on Twitter, and the likelihood of everything I do online being tracked, stored, cataloged and cross-referenced increasing due to cloud storage and other online services.

I guarantee something I've said online could be taken out of context and used against me, someone I've been in contact will become a socially unacceptable person, or maybe some of my legal online activities will be part of a character assassination in the hands of a disgruntled ex, or if I ever decide to run for office. Social mores change so rapidly these days, that something that was fine just a few years ago could be compared to bloody murder these days. Who knows what I do today will be viewed in ten, twenty years?

My Firefox has Ghostery, AdBlock Plus, DoNotTrackMe and CustomizeGoogle add-ons installed to limit my exposure to different trackers, exploits, ads, and spying. This only works on Firefox, though. Unfortunately so many add-ons break some websites that I use regularly. For those I use Opera.

I still have Gmail since it's a really good service. I use Chrome for Gmail-only activities so that my other browsing habits are not easily tracked by Google. Getting rid of Gmail, other Google services, and my Android phone would probably be the biggest step in improving my privacy — but Google is not the only aggregator out there.

While setting up the scheme above is not complicated, there must be an easier way. I'd like to use just one browser, not get ads, not get tracked, and ideally get a non-unique result on EFF's Panopticlick — my (perhaps mis-guided) gold standard for privacy.

I don't mind spending a few hours to set up a private proxy or spending some money on a hardware proxy. But while I'm tech savvy, I don't understand proxies etc. well enough to make an informed decision how well and what kind of threats they do protect me from — and what other measures I need to take.

Therefore I'd like to ask you to help me and others put us in the right direction. What is a workable solution to strengthen online privacy, lock up my browsing habits, and separate my numerous online identities?

Submission + - Florida bans Internet Cafes (tcpalm.com)

squiggleslash writes: Concerned about their use as fronts for gambling operations, the Florida legislature passed a law banning Internet Cafes. The law appears to be a reaction in part to the recent stepping down of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, embroiled in a scandal involving a company that operates Internet Cafes. More ordinary cafes with Wi-fi, where you supply your own computer (such as Starbucks), are not affected by the ban.
The Media

Submission + - Which News Network is More Dominated by Opinion - Fox or MSNBC? 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Jack Mirkinson reports that Pew Research Center's annual "State of the Media" study found that, since 2007, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC have all cut back sharply on the amount of actual reporting found on their airwaves. Cheaper, more provocative debate or interview segments have largely filled the void. Pew found that Fox News spent 55 percent of the time on opinion and 45 percent of the time on reporting. Critics of that figure would likely contend that the network's straight news reporting tilts conservative, but it is true that Fox News has more shows that feature reporting packages than MSNBC does. According to Pew MSNBC made the key decision to reprogram itself in prime time as a liberal counterweigh to the Fox News Channel’s conservative nighttime lineup. The new MSNBC strategy and lineup were accompanied by a substantial cut in interview time and sharply increased airtime devoted to edited packages. The Pew Research examination of programming in December 2012 found MSNBC by far the most opinionated of the three networks, with nearly 90% of MSNBC's primetime coverage coming in the form of opinion or commentary. "Given the current liberal approach at nighttime at MSNBC, it’s hard to remember that back in 2007, the prime-time airwaves were split between liberals (Keith Olbermann and, to a lesser extent, Chris Matthews) and conservatives (Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson). Now, Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz are linchpins in an ideologically reconstructed liberal lineup.""
Encryption

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Less Volatile Encryption?

FuzzNugget writes: A recent catastrophic hard drive failure has caused me to ponder whether the trade-off between security and convenience with software-based OTFE is worthwhile. My setup involves an encrypted Windows installation with TrueCrypt's pre-boot authentication, in addition to having data stored in a number of TrueCrypt file containers.

While it is nice to have some amount of confidence that my data is safe from prying eyes in the case of loss or theft of my laptop, this setup poses a number of significant inconveniences:

1. Backup images of the encrypted operating system can only be restored to the original hard drive (ie.: the drive that has failed). So, recovery from this failure requires the time-consuming process of re-installing the OS, re-installing my software and re-encrypting it. Upgrading the hard drive where both the old and new drives are still functional is not much better as it requires decryption, copying the partition(s) and re-encryption.

2. With the data being stored in large file containers, each around 100-200GB. It can be come quite burdensome to deal with these huge files all the time. It's also a particularly volatile situation, as the file container is functionally useless if it's not completely intact.

3. As much as I'd like to use this situation as an opportunity to upgrade to an SSD, use with OTFE is said to pose risks of data leaks, cause decreased performance and premature failure due to excessive write operations.

So, with that, I'm open to suggestions for alternatives. Do you use encryption for your hard drive(s)? What's your setup like and how manageable is it?
Programming

Submission + - Will Donglegate Affect Your Decision to Attend PyCon? 4

theodp writes: Its Code of Conduct describes PyCon as 'a welcoming, friendly event for all.' But will the post-conference fallout from this year's 'Donglegate' debacle and proposed remedies affect your decision — one way or the other — to attend next year's PyCon in ironically naughty Montreal? And even if not, could 'Donglegate' influence the-powers-that-be whose approval you'll need to attend? How about conference sponsors? Also, how important is PyCon to the Python ecosystem — any chance that this year's incident could have a short or long-term effect on Python itself?

Submission + - Monsanto's Death Patents .. (counterpunch.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Monsanto has yet another case pending in the court system, this time before the U.S. Supreme Court on the exclusivity of its genetically modified seed patents. Narrowly at issue is whether Monsanto retains patent rights on soybeans that have been replanted after showing up in generic stocks rather than being sold specifically as seeds, or whether those patent rights are “exhausted” after the initial planting. But more broadly the case also raises implications regarding control of the food supply and the patenting of life – questions that current patent laws are ill-equipped to meaningfully address.

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