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Piracy

Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down 634

ZuchinniOne writes "With Ubisoft's fantastically awful new DRM you must be online and logged in to their servers to play the games you buy. Not only was this DRM broken the very first day it was released, but now their authentication servers have failed so absolutely that no-one who legally bought their games can play them. 'At around 8am GMT, people began to complain in the Assassin's Creed 2 forum that they couldn't access the Ubisoft servers and were unable to play their games.' One can only hope that this utter failure will help to stem the tide of bad DRM."
Science

Interstellar Hydrogen Prevents Light-Speed Travel? 546

garg0yle writes "As if relativity wasn't enough to prevent us traveling at light speed, Professor William Edelstein of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is now claiming that the interstellar hydrogen, compressed in front of the ship, would bring the journey to a shocking end. 'As the spaceship reached 99.999998 per cent of the speed of light, "hydrogen atoms would seem to reach a staggering 7 teraelectron volts," which for the crew "would be like standing in front of the Large Hadron Collider beam."'"
Security

European Credit and Debit Card Security Broken 245

Jack Spine writes "With nearly a billion users dependent on smart banking credit and debit cards, banks have refused liability for losses where an idenification number has been provided. But now, the process behind the majority of European credit and debit card transactions is fundamentally broken, according to researchers from Cambridge University. The researchers have demonstrated a man-in-the-middle attack which fooled a card reader into accepting a number of point-of-sale transactions, even though the cards were not properly authenticated. The researchers used off-the-shelf components (PDF), and a laptop running a Python script, to undermine the two-factor authentication process on European credit and debit cards, which is called Chip and PIN."
Medicine

Brain Surgery Linked To Sensation of Spirituality 380

the3stars writes "'Removing part of the brain can induce inner peace, according to researchers from Italy. Their study provides the strongest evidence to date that spiritual thinking arises in, or is limited by, specific brain areas. This raises a number of interesting issues about spirituality, among them whether or not people can be born with a strong propensity towards spirituality and also whether it can be acquired through head trauma." One critic's quoted response: "It's important to recognize that the whole study is based on changes in one self-report measure, which is a coarse measure that includes some strange items."
Security

Interview With a Convicted 419 Scammer 184

An anonymous reader writes "Scam awareness website www.scam-detectives.co.uk has published a two part interview with convicted Nigerian 419 scammer, 'John.' 'John' talks about his experiences of scam victims, how he gains their trust and convinces them to part with their money, and how he would go back for another 'bite' after the original scam, posing as a law enforcement official who has apprehended the scammer and recovered the funds ... for a fee, of course."
Image

Tower Switch-Off Embarrasses Electrosensitives 292

Sockatume writes "Residents in Craigavon, South Africa complained of '[h]eadaches, nausea, tinnitus, dry burning itchy skins, gastric imbalances and totally disrupted sleep patterns' after an iBurst communications tower was put up in a local park. Symptoms subsided when the residents left the area, often to stay with family and thus evade their suffering. At a public meeting with the afflicted locals, the tower's owners pledged to switch off the mast immediately to assess whether it was responsible for their ailments. One problem: the mast had already been switched off for six weeks. Lawyers representing the locals say their case against iBurst will continue on other grounds."
Education

Ocean-Crossing Dragonflies Discovered 95

grrlscientist writes "While living and working as a marine biologist in Maldives, Charles Anderson noticed sudden explosions of dragonflies at certain times of year. He explains how he carefully tracked the path of a plain, little dragonfly called the Globe Skimmer, Pantala flavescens, only to discover that it had the longest migratory journey of any insect in the world."
Science

50 Years of Domesticating Foxes For Science 347

gamebittk writes "In 1959, Soviet scientist Dmitri Belyaev set out to breed a tamer fox that would be easier for their handlers in the Russian fur industry to work with. Much to the scientist's shock, changes no one had expected emerged after just 10 generations. The foxes began behaving playfully, were smaller in size, and even changed color — much like dogs." Belyaev died in 1985, but the experiment continued (PDF) in his absence, and to this day provides strong evidence to parts of evolutionary theory. The experiment eventually branched out to involve other species as well.
Debian

FreeNAS Switching From FreeBSD To Debian Linux 206

dnaumov writes "FreeNAS, a popular, free NAS solution, is moving away from using FreeBSD as its underlying core OS and switching to Debian Linux. Version 0.8 of FreeNAS as well as all further releases are going to be based on Linux, while the FreeBSD-based 0.7 branch of FreeNAS is going into maintenance-only mode, according to main developer Volker Theile. A discussion about the switch, including comments from the developers, can be found on the FreeNAS SourceForge discussion forum. Some users applaud the change, which promises improved hardware compatibility, while others voice concerns regarding the future of their existing setups and lack of ZFS support in Linux."
Google

Google Launches Public DNS Resolver 540

AdmiralXyz writes "Google has announced the launch of their free DNS resolution service, called Google Public DNS. According to their blog post, Google Public DNS uses continuous record prefetching to avoid cache misses — hopefully making the service faster — and implements a variety of techniques to block spoofing attempts. They also say that (unlike an increasing number of ISPs), Google Public DNS behaves exactly according to the DNS standard, and will not redirect you to advertising in the event of a failed lookup. Very cool, but of course there are questions about Google's true motivations behind knowing every site you visit."
Security

SSL Renegotiation Attack Becomes Real 97

rastos1 and several other readers noted that the SSL vulnerability we discussed a couple of weeks back, which some researchers had claimed was too theoretical to worry about, has now been demonstrated by exploit. The attack description is available on securegoose.org. "A Turkish grad student has devised a serious, real-world attack on Twitter that targeted a recently discovered vulnerability in the SSL protocol. The exploit by Anil Kurmus is significant because it successfully targeted the so-called SSL renegotiation bug to steal Twitter login credentials that passed through encrypted data streams. All in all, a man in the middle is able to steal the credentials of a user authenticating himself through HTTPS to a trusted website."
Math

What Computer Science Can Teach Economics 421

eldavojohn writes "A new award-winning thesis from an MIT computer science assistant professor showed that the Nash equilibrium of complex games (like the economy or poker) belong to problems with non-deterministic polynomial (NP) complexity (more specifically PPAD complexity, a subset of TFNP problems which is a subset of FNP problems which is a subset of NP problems). More importantly there should be a single solution for one problem that can be adapted to fit all the other problems. Meaning if you can generalize the solution to poker, you have the ability to discover the Nash equilibrium of the economy. Some computer scientists are calling this the biggest development in game theory in a decade."
Programming

Speech-to-Speech Translator Developed For iPhone 133

Ponca City, We love you writes "Dr. Dobbs reports that Alex Waibel, professor of computer science and language technologies at Carnegie Mellon University, has developed an iPhone application that turns the iPhone into a translator that converts English speech into Spanish, or vice versa. Users simply speak a sentence or two at a time into the iPhone and the iPhone will respond with an audible translation. 'Jibbigo's software runs on the iPhone itself, so it doesn't need to be connected to the Web to access a distant server,' says Waibel. Waibel is a leader in speech-to-speech translation and multimodal speech interfaces, creating the first real-time, speech-to-speech translator for English, German and Japanese. 'Automated speech translation is an expensive proposition that has been supported primarily by large government grants,' says Waibel. 'But our sponsors are impatient to see this technology become more widely available and we, as researchers, are eager to find new revenues that will help us extend this technology to more of the 6,000 languages now spoken worldwide.'"

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