Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy

Wikipedia Opts Out Of Phorm 98

ais523 writes "Wikipedia (and other websites run by Wikimedia) have requested to opt-out from Phorm; according to the email they sent, they 'consider the scanning and profiling of our visitors' behavior by a third party to be an infringement on their privacy.'" Another reader points to this post on techblog.wikimedia.org which includes a confirmation from Phorm that those sites will be excluded.
Social Networks

Digg Backs Down On DiggBar 180

Barence writes "Social news website Digg.com has made key changes to its recently introduced DiggBar. The browser add-on had been much criticised for its use of frames to 'host' third-party websites within the digg.com domain using an obfuscating short URL, thereby boosting its own traffic figures to the detriment of those third parties. After many major sites ran negative articles on the DiggBar, and even changed their code to block it, Digg has relented and announced two changes to ease concerns."
Spam

The Ecological Impact of Spam 176

krou writes "A new study entitled 'The Carbon Footprint of Spam' (PDF) published by ICF International and commissioned by McAfee claims that spam uses around 33 billion kilowatt hours of energy annually, which is approximately enough to power 2.4 million US homes (or roughly 3.1 million cars) for a year. They calculated that the average CO2 emission for a spam email is around 0.3 grams. Interestingly, the majority of energy usage (around 80%) comes from users viewing and deleting spam, and searching for legitimate emails within spam filters. They also claim that 'An individual company can find that one fifth of the energy budget of its email system is wasted on spam.' One of the report's authors, Richi Jennings, writes on his blog that 'spam filtering actually saves an incredible amount of energy.' He continues, 'Imagine if every inbox were protected by a state-of-the-art spam filter. We could save about 75% of the spam energy used today — 25 TWh per year; that's like taking 2.3 million cars off the road.""
Privacy

Using Net Proxies Will Lead To Harsher Sentences 366

Afforess writes "'Proxy servers are an everyday part of Internet surfing. But using one in a crime could soon lead to more time in the clink,' reports the Associated Press. The new federal rules would make the use of proxy servers count as 'sophistication' in a crime, leading to 25% longer jail sentences. Privacy advocates complain this will disincentivize privacy and anonymity online. '[The government is telling people] ... if you take normal steps to protect your privacy, we're going to view you as a more sophisticated criminal,' writes the Center for Democracy and Technology. Others fear this may lead to 'cruel and unusual punishments' as Internet and cell phone providers often use proxies without users' knowledge to reroute Internet traffic. This may also ultimately harm corporations when employees abuse VPN's, as they too are counted as a 'proxy' in the new legislation. TOR, a common Internet anonymizer, is also targeted in the new legislation. Some analysts believe this legislation is an effort to stop leaked US Government information from reaching outside sources, such as Wikileaks. The legislation (PDF, the proposed amendment is on pages 5-15) will be voted on by the United States Sentencing Commission on April 15, and is set to take effect on November 1st. The EFF has already urged the Commission to reject the amendment."
Moon

Volunteers Recover Lunar Orbiter 1 Photographs 150

mikael writes "The LA Times is reporting on the efforts of a group of volunteers with funding from NASA to recover high resolution photographs of the Moon taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 in the 1960s. The collection of 2000 images is stored entirely on magnetic tape which can only be read by a $330,000 FR-900 Ampex magnetic tape reader. The team consisted of Nancy Evans, NASA's archivist who ensured that the 20-foot by 10-foot x 6-foot collection of magnetic tapes were never thrown out, Dennis Wingo, Keith Cowing of NASA Watch and Ken Zim who had experience of repairing video equipment. Two weeks ago, the second image, of the Copernicus Crater, was recovered."
The Almighty Buck

Paper Companies' Windfall of Unintended Consequences 284

Jamie found a post on ScienceBlogs that serves as a stark example of the law of unintended consequences, as well as the ability of private industry to game a system of laws to their advantage. It seems that large paper companies stand to reap as much as $8 billion this year by doing the opposite of what an alternative-fuel bill intended. Here is the article from The Nation with more details and a mild reaction from a Congressional staffer. "[T]he United States government stands to pay out as much as $8 billion this year to the ten largest paper companies.... even though the money comes from a transportation bill whose manifest intent was to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, paper mills are adding diesel fuel to a process that requires none in order to qualify for the tax credit. In other words, we are paying the industry — handsomely — to use more fossil fuel. 'Which is,' as a Goldman Sachs report archly noted, the 'opposite of what lawmakers likely had in mind when the tax credit was established.'"
Censorship

Goldman Sachs Tries To Shut Down Dissident Blogger 161

The Narrative Fallacy sends along a piece from the Telegraph on efforts by Goldman Sachs to silence a blogger who is posting commentary critical of the bank. "Goldman Sachs has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website goldmansachs666.com. According to the C&D letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site 'violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights' and also 'implies a relationship' with the bank itself. Morgan claims he has followed all legal requirements to own and operate the website and that the header of the site clearly states that the content has not been approved by the bank. In a post entitled Goldman Sachs vs Mike Morgan, the blogger predicts that the fight will probably end up in court. He went through a similar battle with US home builder Lennar a few years ago after he set up a website to collect information on what he alleged was shoddy workmanship in its homes. 'Since I went through this with Lennar, I've had advice from some of the best intellectual property lawyers, and I know exactly what I can and can't do. We're not going to back down from this.'"
Government

Hungary, Tatarstan Latest To Go FOSS 129

christian.einfeldt writes "It seems as if almost every other week there is news of another government migration toward Free Open Source Software. Two of the most recent such moves come from Hungary and the tiny independent former Russian republic of Tatarstan. On April 2, the Hungarian government announced that it will be modifying its procurement rules to mandate that open source procurement funding match expenditures for proprietary software, according to Ferenc Baja, deputy minister for information technology. In Tatarstan, a Republic of 3.8 million inhabitants, the Deputy Minister of Education announced that by the end of this school year, all 2,400 educational institutions in Tatarstan will have completed a transition to GNU/Linux, following a successful pilot program it rolled out in 2008."
The Military

Better Living Through Nukes? 432

perkonis writes "So, you've got 23,000 nukes laying about and no one to use them on. What to do with them? Well, you blow up stuff for fun and profit. Some of the ideas range from good on paper (such as mining oil shale) to just downright bad (such as making a new Panama Canal). Making a big ditch by blowing up nukes — what could possibly go wrong?"
Programming

COBOL Turning 50, Still Important 314

Death Metal writes with this excerpt from a story about COBOL's influence as it approaches 50 years in existence: "According to David Stephenson, the UK manager for the software provider Micro Focus, 'some 70% to 80% of UK plc business transactions are still based on COBOL.' ... Mike Gilpin, from the market research company Forrester, says that the company's most recent related survey found that 32% of enterprises say they still use COBOL for development or maintenance. ... A lot of this maintenance and development takes place on IBM products. The company's software group director of product delivery and strategy, Charles Chu, says that he doesn't think 'legacy' is pejorative. 'Business constantly evolves,' he adds, 'but there are 250bn lines of COBOL code working well worldwide. Why would companies replace systems that are working well?'"
NASA

NASA's Zero-Gravity Robotic-Arm Partnership With Canada 41

AndreV writes "We've entered into an extraterrestrial quid pro quo with our Northern neighbors: After celebrating 25 years of the Canadarm's first venture into space, NASA has reached out (so to speak) to the Canadian Space Agency and begun research and development on a new generation of robotic arms, which would ultimately be used for the US agency's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle that will provide transportation for Moon missions and jaunts to the international space station. In exchange, Canada will trade the robotic-limb technology's use on Orion and other future US-manned spacecraft for flight time for Canadian astronauts. And seeing solid results shouldn't be far off — the engineering company designing the bionic branch, responsible for the previous Canadarms, has already begun investigating the effects of zero gravity on their components. (Another forward-looking project being bartered for astronaut time is a rover for the Moon and Mars.) Fair trade?"
Government

Voting Machines and 'Calibration Drift' 217

An anonymous reader writes "Tuesday saw elections for school boards and city officials throughout Kansas. In Saline, ES&S voting machines in several locations were 'mis-calibrated,' and when the voter touched next to one candidate's name, the 'x' appeared next to another one. One person I talked to said he tried to vote three times before going to the 80-something-year-old election worker, who told him 'It was doing that earlier, but I thought I fixed it.' From the story in today's Salina Journal: 'The iVotronic machines used in Saline County are sold by Elections Systems and Software. In October, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law notified 16 secretaries of state, including Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, that the machines are known to record votes to the wrong candidate.' The county does calibrate the machines the day before each election, but, '... in conversations with ES&S on Thursday, [the county clerk] was told that the calibration might change during the day. "What they've seen is calibration drift on a unit," Merriman said. "They're fine in the morning, but by afternoon they're starting to lose their calibration."' There was also coverage of the problems when they occurred two days ago."
The Internet

The Net — Democratic Panacea Or Autocratic Tool? 204

Alex writes "On April 6, 10,000 protesters organized in Moldova against the nation's Communist leadership by utilizing new media like Twitter and Facebook, demonstrating the ever-increasing potential of the Internet as a democratic and liberating tool. But in the current Boston Review, Evgeny Morozov critiques the view that the internet will inevitably democratize autocratic regimes like China, Russia and Iran. He argues that the Net's democratic effects are not inherent, and that autocratic regimes have been successful in controlling electronic media to disseminate their ideology. Will the net ultimately spread American democracy, or just American entertainment?"
Sci-Fi

Star Trek Premiere Gets Standing Ovation, Surprise Showing In Austin 437

MrKaos writes "Proving that science fiction can still be great entertainment, J.J. Abrams appears to have impressed Star Trek fans at the official world premiere of Star Trek, who gave the film a five-minute standing ovation at the Sydney Opera House in Australia today. Meanwhile, mere hours beforehand, flummoxed fans at the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Austin, TX, deceived into thinking they were seeing a special, extended version of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, were pleasantly surprised when a disguised Leonard Nimoy greeted them and announced they would be seeing the new film in its entirety. ILM's influence on the film is reported as visually stunning, and lucky Australian fans are scheduled to see the movie first, as it opens a day before the American release."

Slashdot Top Deals

There are no games on this system.

Working...