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Security

Obama's Twitter Account "Hacked" 308

Oxford_Comma_Lover writes "A 24-year-old living with his mother in France was arrested for 'hacking' into Obama's twitter accounts. (Warning: WSJ does obnoxious paywall things. Your miles may vary.) Apparently he guesses the answer to a question related to password recovery in order to break into the accounts of famous people; he has no computer science training or financial motive. He posted screenshots to a few boards and twitter found out within a few hours, either from a tip or from noticing when someone from France logs onto twitter as the President of the United States. (He did not actually tweet as POTUS, but just wanted to show he could break into the account.)"
Image

Supersizing the "Last Supper" 98

gandhi_2 writes "A pair of sibling scholars compared 52 artists' renditions of 'The Last Supper', and found that the size of the meal painted had grown through the years. Over the last millennium they found that entrees had increased by 70%, bread by 23%, and plate size by 65.6%. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity. From the article: 'The apostles depicted during the Middle Ages appear to be the ascetics they are said to have been. But by 1498, when Leonardo da Vinci completed his masterpiece, the party was more lavishly fed. Almost a century later, the Mannerist painter Jacobo Tintoretto piled the food on the apostles' plates still higher.'"
Censorship

Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary 565

eldavojohn writes "The Guardian is reporting on the strained relationship that Scientology is having with the German government and the airing of a pesky documentary on Southwest Broadcasting. Until Nothing Remains, a $2.3 million documentary, is slotted to air on German television at the end of this month. It recounts the true story of Heiner von Rönn and his family's suffering when he tried to leave the Church of Scientology. A Scientology spokesperson called the film false and intolerant and also said they are investigating legal means to stop the film from being aired. More details on the film can be gleaned here."
Hardware Hacking

Mario Reduced To 8x8 With Open Source and Arduino 94

adeelarshad82 writes "The open-source Arduino electronics platform has received a ton of attention from the hardware enthusiast community. And one more follower is joining the fray — Mario himself. The mustachioed plumber of console video game fame has been converted into an eight-by-eight LED matrix by Carnegie Mellon University student Chloe Fan. However, the game isn't quite the Mario you know from your legacy Nintendo Entertainment System. For starters, it's just lights. While one often sees the game's LED-backed grid used in devices like the open-source Monome, where it can function as a push-button toggle for music beats and effects, Fan's version of Mario uses the grid as a display only. Mario — or rather, a one-light representation of the game's hero — is controlled NES-style through the use of two buttons. One button makes Mario move forward; the other makes him leap into the air."
Australia

Good Language Choice For School Programming Test? 407

An anonymous reader writes "The Australian Informatics Olympiad programming test is being run in a couple of months. I'm an experienced programmer and I'm thinking of volunteering to tutor interested kids at my children's school to get them ready. There will be children of all levels in the group, from those that can't write 'hello world' in any language, to somewhat experienced programmers. For those starting from scratch, I'm wondering what language to teach them to code in. Accepted languages are C, C++, Pascal, Java, PHP, Python and Visual Basic. I'm leaning towards Python, because it is a powerful language with a simple syntax. However, the test has a run-time CPU seconds limit, so using an interpreted language like Python could put the students at a disadvantage compared to using C. Is it better to teach them something in 2 months that they're likely to be able to code in but possibly run foul of the CPU time limit, or struggle to teach them to code in a more complicated syntax like C/C++ which would however give them the best chance of having a fast solution?"
Music

Triumph of the Cyborg Composer 502

An anonymous reader writes "UC Santa Cruz emeritus professor David Cope's software, nicknamed Emmy, creates beautiful original music. So why are people so angry about that? From the article: 'Cope attracted praise from musicians and computer scientists, but his creation raised troubling questions: If a machine could write a Mozart sonata every bit as good as the originals, then what was so special about Mozart? And was there really any soul behind the great works, or were Beethoven and his ilk just clever mathematical manipulators of notes?'"
Security

GoDaddy Wants Your Root Password 236

Johnny Fusion writes "The writer of the Securi Security Blog had an alarming awakening when a honeypot on port 22 on a GoDaddy-hosted VPS recorded login attempts using his GoDaddy username and password and even an attempt to login as root. It turns out the attempt was actually from within GoDaddy's network. Before he could 'alert' GoDaddy about the security breach, he got an email from GoDaddy Demanding his root login credentials. There is an update where GoDaddy explains itself and says they will change policy."
Operating Systems

Google Android — a Universe of Incompatible Devices 636

snydeq writes "Galen Gruman writes about the dark side of the recent flood of Android smartphones: versions run amok. 'That flood of options should be a good thing — but it's not. In fact, it's a self-destruction derby in action, as phones come out with different versions of the Android OS, with no clear upgrade strategy for either the operating system or the applications users have installed, and with inconsistent deployment of core features. In short, the Android platform is turning out not to be a platform at all, but merely a starting point for a universe of incompatible devices,' Gruman writes. 'This mess leaves developers and users in an unstable position, as each new Android device adds another variation and compatibility question.' In the end, Google's naive approach to open sourcing Android may in fact be precipitating this free-for-all — one that might ultimately turn off both end-users and developers alike." As reader donberryman points out, you can even put Android onto some Windows Mobile phones, now.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Newspaper "Hacks Into" Aussie Gov't Website By Guessing URL 271

thelamecamel writes "According to the New South Wales state government, the Sydney Morning Herald, a local newspaper, attacked the government's 'website firewall security' for two days to research a recent story. The affected government minister said that the website was accessed 3,727 times, and that this is 'akin to 3,727 attempts to pick the lock of a secure office and take highly confidential documents.' The matter has been referred to the police, who are now investigating. But how did the paper 'hack' the website? They entered the unannounced URL. Security by obscurity at its finest."
Space

Falcon 9 Prepares For High Stakes Launch 190

happylunarnewyear writes "The first new rocket to be launched from the Cape since 2002 is assembled and upright on Launch Complex 40. Falcon 9 will undergo fueling testing and live firing tests before the launch occurs as soon as next month. The stakes couldn't be higher, either. The much politicized proposal for a change in direction for NASA, which includes scrapping the Constellation program in toto in favor of privatization and a new heavy lift vehicle, veritably rides on this rocket. If the launch goes well, the plan for increased reliance on privatized cargo missions and eventually privatized manned missions will soar with it. However if something goes wrong, those plans will come crashing to Earth along with Falcon 9. Given the stakes, this launch is one of the most important in recent history. From the article, 'President Obama's proposal to shift transport of US astronauts to the space station from government launchers to privatized ones could suffer politically if there's a high-profile problem with the first mission of the Falcon 9, by far the most talked-about newcomer vying for the opportunity.'" Reader FleaPlus contributes related news about NASA's proposed funding for scientific payloads on commercial space flights, which would be a huge boon to researchers.
Space

Meteorite Contains Complex Organic Molecules 106

An anonymous reader writes "Previously unknown organic molecules have been discovered in a 100 kg meteorite that hit Australia in 1969, suggesting that our early Solar System contained a soup of highly complex organic chemistry long before life appeared. Quoting: 'According to [the study's lead author], the newly discovered compounds in the Murchison meteorite "may have contributed to the organic complexity of the early 'soup' that led to the development of life on Earth." The findings also suggest that extraterrestrial chemical diversity surpasses that found on Earth. The meteor probably passed through primordial clouds in the early solar system, accumulating organic molecules in a snowball effect along the way. By tracing the sequence of organic molecules in the meteorite, researchers believe they may also be able to create a timeline for their formation and alteration since the early days of our solar system.'"
Space

Signs of Water Found On Saturnian Moon Enceladus 79

Matt_dk writes "Scientists working on the Cassini space mission have found negatively charged water ions in the ice plume of Enceladus. Their findings, based on analysis from data taken in plume fly-throughs in 2008 and reported in the journal Icarus, provide evidence for the presence of liquid water, which suggests the ingredients for life inside the icy moon. The Cassini plasma spectrometer, used to gather this data, also found other species of negatively charged ions including hydrocarbons."

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