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AI

Submission + - MIT creates a scary smart computer that can learn (motherboard.tv)

HansonMB writes: Remember how much of a pain SimCity was? Now imagine trying to play it in Russian. Researchers at MIT have created machine-learning systems that are able to analyze instruction manuals to help them beat video games. By correlating terms they come across in gameplay with those found in the manuals, these MIT programs can teach themselves human language in order to win.

Submission + - Can A Monkey Get A Copyright & Issue A Takedow (techdirt.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Last week, the Daily Mail published a story about some monkeys in Indonesia who happened upon a camera and took some photos of themselves. The photos are quite cute. However, Techdirt noticed that the photos had copyright notices on them, and started a discussion over who actually held the copyright in question, noting that, if anyone did, the monkeys had the best claim, and certainly not the photographer. Yet, the news agency who claimed copyright issued a takedown to Techdirt! When presented with the point that its unlikely that news agency, Caters News, holds a legitimate copyright, the agency told Techdirt it didn't matter. Techdirt claims that using the photos for such a discussion is a clear case of fair use, an argument that Caters has so far ignored.

Comment Server Names (Score 1) 722

When I worked on Yellow Brick Road in Mentor Ohio, I named them from Wizard of Oz places and characters. I use to run a domain called disgruntled-employees.org there was names for my servers like postal , militant, perturbed, discord etc... Naming servers was always genre specific.
Microsoft

Submission + - Pranksters Post Giant Windows Logo on Apple Store 1

theodp writes: Working calmly in broad daylight and filming their efforts for YouTube posterity, a fake construction crew attached a large Microsoft Windows logo to the black facade of a soon-to-open Hamburg Apple Store. Neat hack in the MIT vein, but next time the crew might want to take along a pic of the Windows logo — with the adrenaline flowing, some of the colors got rearranged and were hung upside down.
Government

Submission + - Can computers be used to optimise the US tax code? (dailykos.com) 1

FatLittleMonkey writes: Science Fiction author, David Brin, wonders whether the US tax code, described by President Obama as a "10,000-page monstrosity", could be dramatically simplified. No, he's not trying to get support a libertarian wet-dream "Flat Tax", this is about using computers to... shuffle the existing system.

"I know a simple way the sheer bulk of the tax code could be trimmed by perhaps 70% or more, without much political pain or obstructionism! ... it should be easy to create a program that will take the tax code and experiment with zeroing-out dozens, hundreds of provisions while sliding others upward and then showing how these simplifications would affect, say, one-hundred representative types of taxpayers ... Let the program find the simplest version of a refined tax code that leaves all 100 taxpayer clades unhurt. If one group loses a favorite tax dodge, the system would seek a rebalancing of others to compensate. No mere human being could accomplish this, but I have been assured that a computer could do this in a snap."

With all the talk about Open Government, perhaps the computer code currently used in tax modelling could be released to the wider community, leading eventually to a Folding@Home type project.

Submission + - Telehack re-creates the Internet from 25 years ago (telehack.com)

saccade.com writes: "Telehack.com has meticulously re-created the Internet as it appeared to a command line user over a quarter century ago. Drawing on material from Jason Scott's TextFiles.com, the text-only world of the 1980's appears right in your browser.

If you want to show somebody what the Arpanet looked like (you didn't call it the "Internet" until the late '80s) this is it.

Using the "finger" command and seeing familiar names from decades ago (some, sadly, ghosts now) sends a chill down your spine."

Comment I guess (Score 1) 1

.. LA School districts like their masses unwashed and uneducated , poorly read and empty in the head. Unburdened by the weight of books , philosophy and lofty ideas like thought and the recognition that one is being screwed.

When I was in school, I learned more in the library then in class. the teachers in the class were more interested in the monotone regurgitation of their lesson plan then the underpinnings as to why this works the way it does. I learned that in the library.
Science

Submission + - Coffee reduces breast cancer risk: new study (medicalxpress.com)

fysdt writes: "Recently published research shows that coffee drinkers enjoy not only the taste of their coffee but also a reduced risk of cancer with their cuppa. More detailed research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research shows that drinking coffee specifically reduces the risk of antiestrogen-resistant estrogen-receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer."
Australia

Submission + - Aussie telco slams Android on 1-click buy patent (zdnet.com.au) 1

lukehopewell1 writes: "Aussie telco giant Telstra has won a marathon court battle against Amazon in a local patents court over the legitimacy of its "1-click buy" patent, a method of purchase that speeds up customer transactions.

The delegate of the Commissioner of Patents, Ed Knock, found this week that Amazon's 1-click buy facility "lacks novelty [and] an inventive step", making Amazon's claim unpatentable.

Amazon's patent application included 141 claims, 60 of which were deemed invalid by the court. To be successful, a patent must not contain any invalid claims.

Knock acknowledged, however, that Amazon's patent application did include some original material and granted the online retailer 60 days to amend the application in compliance with patent regulations.

Amazon has been ordered to pay Telstra's legal costs in the matter."

Submission + - City Council Candidate Censors Debate with DMCA (gvtexas.com) 4

claytongulick writes: I've become involved in a local city council election in Grapevine, Texas. Normally, these elections are pretty friendly affairs, but this one has turned nasty: one of the city council candidates has been using the DMCA to censor websites that are critical of her.

    The website "comecleankathleen.com" contained information and questions critical of the candidate Kathleen Thompson. The site contained public records information about the funding sources of Kathleen's campaign and questions about her background and organizational affiliation.

    In a chilling example of the censorship powers of the DMCA, this website was taken down only a week before the election. Kathleen's DMCA claims were clearly bogus (she claimed copyright on public records) but according to the DMCA, this doesn't matter — when a DMCA takedown notice is filed, the ISP removes the site, then has fourteen days to notify the owner of the website of the alleged infringment, whereupon the owner can file a counter-notice.

    The problem here, is that the DMCA is clearly being abused — and by the time a counter notice could be filed, the election will be over. The owner of the site has no recourse, and in this way any information that is damaging to a candidate can be censored until after the election.

    The only penalties, according to the DMCA section 512, for filing a fradulent notice are that the filer will have to pay the expense of putting the site back up (and attourney fees, if applicable). Well, in the case of a political election, the filers wouldn't even fight the counter-notice and would be happy to pay the penalty to restore the site — after the election has passed.

    Clearly, this was never the intended purpose of the DMCA — but what she has done doesn't appear to be in any way illegal.

    Is this the future of politics? Will political candidates be able to censor information on the web at any time using bogus copyright claims and the DMCA?

(Disclaimer: as I mentioned, I became involved with this election when I created a campaign site for a different candidate — not the one that was taken town)

Security

Submission + - When vuln disclosures are outlawed (theregister.co.uk)

doperative writes: 'Legal goons from Magix AG sent a nasty gram to a researcher who goes by "Acidgen" after he reported the stack buffer overflow in the company's Music Maker 16. According to the report, Acidgen alerted Magix representatives to the bug in several emails that also included proof-of-concept code that forced the Windows calculator to open, indicating the flaw could be exploited to execute malicious code on a victim's computer.

"They misunderstood that I was getting money for doing this ... and illegally breaking into networks" link

Comment: of course the vulnerability isn't in the application but in the underlying Operating System ...

Network

Submission + - US Senator Calls for DOJ Investigation of Sony PSN (ngohq.com)

An anonymous reader writes: US Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today called for the Department of Justice to investigate all aspects of the Sony PlayStation Network data breach, sending Attorney General Eric Holder a letter urging DOJ “to immediately open an investigation to track down and hold accountable those who have stolen sensitive personal information, and to examine any potential wrongdoing in Sony’s response to this matter.”
Space

Submission + - Space Telescope to track objects in GEO orbit (spacenews.com)

FullBandwidth writes: A while back we reported on the DARPA Space Surveillance Telescope, though loyal slashdotters were divided on exactly what astronomers would be looking for. DARPA now makes it clear that the telescope will "enable wide-field views of objects in geostationary orbit" in support of the Air Force mission of "tracking satellites and other objects in Earth orbit and reporting that information to U.S. Strategic Command."

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