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Privacy

10 Percent of Colleges Check Applicants' Social Profiles 398

theodp writes "Confirming paranoid high-schoolers' fears, a new Kaplan survey reveals that 10% of admissions officers from prestigious schools said they had peeked at sites like Facebook and MySpace to evaluate college-bound seniors. Of those using the profiles, 38% said it had a 'negative impact' on the applicant. 'Today's application is not just what you send ... but whatever they can Google about you,' said Kaplan's Jeff Olson. At Notre Dame, assistant provost for enrollment Dan Saracino said he and his staff sometimes come across candidates portraying themselves in a less-than-flattering light. 'It's typically inappropriate photos — like holding up a can of beer at a party,' Saracino said. On the other hand, using the Internet to vet someone's character seems overly intrusive to Northwestern's Christopher Watson. 'We consider Facebook and MySpace their personal space,' the dean of undergraduate admissions said. 'It would feel somewhat like an invasion of privacy.'" We recently discussed similar practices from prospective employers.
Science

Magpies Are Self-Aware 591

FireStormZ writes "Magpies can recognize themselves in a mirror, confounding the notion that self-awareness is the exclusive preserve of humans and a few higher mammals. It had been thought only four species of apes, bottlenose dolphins, and Asian elephants shared the human ability to recognize their own bodies in a mirror. But German scientists reported on Tuesday that magpies, a species with a brain structure very different from mammals, could also identify themselves. It had been thought that the neocortex brain area found in mammals was crucial to self-recognition. Yet birds, which last shared a common ancestor with mammals 300 million years ago, don't have a neocortex, suggesting that higher cognitive skills can develop in other ways."
Space

Virgin Galactic Shows the Finished WhiteKnight Two 212

Klaus Schmidt writes "Virgin Galactic today unveiled their WhiteKnight Two mothership, called 'EVE.' It is designed to carry the smaller SpaceShip Two into space. The rollout represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic's quest to launch the world's first private, environmentally benign, space access system for people, payload and science. Christened 'EVE' in honor of Richard Branson's mother — Sir Richard performed the official naming ceremony — WK2 is both visually remarkable and represents ground-breaking aerospace technology. It is the world's largest all carbon composite aircraft and many of its component parts have been built using composite materials for the very first time. At 140 ft, the wing span is the longest single carbon composite aviation component ever manufactured."
Privacy

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy From Web Hosts? 287

Shafted writes "I'm in a bit of dilemma, and I'm wondering what fellow Slashdotters think regarding this subject. I've been hosting web sites for some clients for years using my own server. About a year and a half ago, I got a reseller account with a company that will remain nameless. They are, however, fairly large, and they did come highly recommended. Other than the usual slow tech support, occasional server overloading, and... well... typical support staff, it's been pretty good and has saved me from having to deal with problems like hardware and driving down to the colo at 4AM to figure out a routing problem. All-in-all, it was acceptable. Until yesterday, when I was asking for a relatively minor email-related fix, and by the tech support staff's response, they had accessed my MySQL database directly and looked at the contents; presumably, in order to tell me what I was doing wrong. Regardless of the fact that they missed the boat with regards to the support question, I found it surprising that they would access my database data without my consent. When I asked them why they were accessing the database without my permission, they've pretty much ignored me, despite repeated requests asking why they think this is acceptable. So, my question is this: Do I, as a customer who, according to the acceptable use policy, owns my data, have a reasonable expectation of privacy for the data which I own, despite it being hosted on a third-party's server? Or do web hosting companies have the right to poke around at everyone's data as they see fit?" Read below for the rest of the question.
Programming

VIA Releases 800 Pages of Documentation For Linux 131

billybob2 writes "VIA has published three programming guides that total 800 pages in length and cover their PadLock, CX700, and VX800/820 technologies. The VIA PadLock provides a random number generator, an advanced cryptography engine, and RSA algorithm computations. The VX800 chipset was VIA's first Integrated Graphics Processor, while the CX700 is a System Media Processor designed for the mobile market. This is another step in VIA's strategy to support the development of Free and Open Source drivers under Linux, which comes pre-installed on VIA products such as the Sylvania NetBook, HP Mini-Note, 15.4" gBook, gPC, CloudBook, Zonbu, and VIA OpenBook. Earlier this week, VIA hired Linux kernel developer and GPL-Violations.org founder Harald Welte to be VIA's liason to the Open Source community."
Education

Expensive Books Inspire P2P Textbook Downloads 511

jyosim writes "A site called Textbook Torrents is among the many sites popping up offering free downloads of expensive textbooks using BitTorrent or other peer-to-peer networks. With the average cost of textbooks going up every year, and with some books costing more than $100, some experts say that piracy will only increase." Having just completed graduate school, I can attest that quite a few books are in that more-than-$100 range, and that they're heavy besides. But the big-name textbook publishers are much less interested than I am in open textbooks, even if MIT has demonstrated that open courseware is feasible, and Stanford and other schools have put quite a bit of material on iTunes.
The Internet

How To Frame a Printer For Copyright Infringement 325

An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever wondered what it takes to get 'caught' for copyright infringement on the Internet? Surprisingly, actual infringement is not required. The New York Times reports that researchers from the computer science department at the University of Washington have just released a study that examines how enforcement agencies monitor P2P networks and what it takes to receive a complaint today. Without downloading or sharing a single file, their study attracted more than 400 copyright infringement complaints. Even more disturbing is their discovery that illegal P2P participation can be easily spoofed; the researchers managed to frame innocent desktop machines and even several university printers, all of which received bogus complaints."
The Almighty Buck

Covert BT Phorm Trial Report Leaked 292

stavros-59 writes "An internal BT report on the BT secret trials of Phorm (aka 121Media) Deep Packet Inspection has been revealed on Wikileaks today. The leaked document shows that during the covert trial a possible 18 million page requests were intercepted and injected with JavaScript and about 128 thousand charity ads were substituted with the Phorm Ad Network advertisements purchased by advertisers specifically for the covert trial period. Several ISPs are known to be using, or planning to use, DPI as a means of serving advertising directly through Layer 7 interception at ISP level in the USA and Europe. NebuAd claim they are using DPI to enable their advertising to reach 10% of USA internet users." CT: nodpi has updated their page with a note that says that the charity ads were "purchased and not hijacked"- read there to see what the latest is.
United States

Barack Obama Wins Democratic Nomination 1788

An anonymous reader was one of many who noted that Barack Obama has claimed the Democratic nomination having secured enough delegates and super-delegates to claim victory. Of course, technically this assumes that the supers all vote as they say they will and they are free to change their minds. So no doubt we'll continue to hear debate on this subject until either the convention or Hillary steps down.
Operating Systems

To Whom Should I Donate? 299

jasonmanley writes "I currently use DesktopBSD. The other day I gave some thought to donating money to the project, but then I got to thinking — to whom would I donate the money? DesktopBSD benefits from FreeBSD and KDE among other projects. What about software with a smaller focus, such as OpenSSH? In fact, there are heaps of other projects' software embedded in FOSS packages, and I would like to know who the community thinks should get the donations."
Data Storage

Creative Sued for Base-10 Capacities On HDD MP3 Players 528

Dorkz brings news of a class-action settlement from Creative Labs over the capacity of their HDD MP3 players. Evidently they calculated drive capacity in base-10 (1,000,000,000 bytes per GB) instead of base-2 (1,073,741,824 bytes per GB). The representative plaintiff is entitled to $5,000, and everyone else who bought one of the HDD MP3 players in the past several years gets a 50% discount on a new 1GB player[PDF]. They can also opt for a 20% discount on anything ordered from Creative's online store. Creative has made available all of the necessary legal forms. Seagate lost a similar lawsuit late last year.
The Internet

Average Web Page Size Triples Since 2003 241

Andy King writes "Within the last five years, the size of the average web page has more than tripled, and the number of external objects has nearly doubled. While broadband users have experienced somewhat faster response times, narrowband users have been left behind." The article breaks down a number of changes besides just page size, including image types and video duration.
Books

Amazon Insists Publishers Use Their On-Demand Printer 182

Lawrence Person writes "According to a story up on Writer's Weekly, Print on Demand publishers are being told to use Amazon's own BookSurge POD printer or else Amazon will disable the 'buy' button for their books. After hemming and hawing, an Amazon/BookSurge rep 'finally admitted that books not converted to BookSurge would have the "buy" button turned off on Amazon.com, just as we'd heard from several other POD publishers who had similar conversations with Amazon/BookSurge representatives... their eventual desire is to have no books from other POD publishers available on Amazon.com.' So much for Amazon's Vision Statement: 'Our vision is to be earth's most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.'"

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