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Submission + - Shades of Jack Ryan: altering text in eBooks to track pirates (wired.com)

wwphx writes: German researchers have created a new DRM feature that changes the text and punctuation of an e-book ever so slightly. Called SiDiM, which Google translates to “secure documents by individual marking,” the changes are unique to each e-book sold. These alterations serve as a digital watermark that can be used to track books that have had any other DRM layers stripped out of them before being shared online. The researchers are hoping the new DRM feature will curb digital piracy by simply making consumers paranoid that they’ll be caught if they share an e-book illicitly.

Seems like I recall reading about this in Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red October when Jack Ryan used this technique to identify someone who was leaking secrets to the Russians. It would be so very difficult for someone to write a little program that, when stripping the DRM, randomized a couple of pieces of punctuation to break the hash that the vendor is storing along with the sales record of the individual book.

Submission + - Japanese artist makes better art in Execl than others can do with Photoshop (geek.com) 3

cute_orc writes: MS Excel is notorious for being a boring spreadsheet applications. But 73 years old Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes amazing art using autoshape tool of Excel. He makes free-form shapes spanning multiple cells and join them together in into a huge image. His artwork is really amazing and beautiful.
Transportation

Nicaragua Gives Chinese Firm Contract To Build Alternative To Panama Canal 323

McGruber writes with this news from late last week: "The Guardian is reporting that Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications. The new route will be a higher-capacity alternative to the 99-year-old Panama Canal, which is currently being widened at the cost of $5.2bn. Last year, the Nicaraguan government noted that the new canal should be able to allow passage for mega-container ships with a dead weight of up to 250,000 tonnes. This is more than double the size of the vessels that will be able to pass through the Panama Canal after its expansion, it said."
Cellphones

Apple's War Against Jailbreaking Now Makes Perfect Sense 321

An anonymous reader writes "Apple has always been extremely anti jailbreaking, but it might now have a good reason to plug up the exploits. As Hardware 2.0 argues, Apple's new iOS 7 Activation Lock anti-theft mechanism which renders stolen handsets useless (even after wiping) unless the owner's Apple ID is entered relies on having a secure, locked-down OS. Are the days of jailbreaking iOS coming to a close?" I can see a whole new variety of phone-based ransom-ware based on this capability, too.

Submission + - No black hole or magnetic monopole: Tunguska really was a meteor (nature.com)

davide-nature writes: The mysterious blast that flattened 2,000 square km of a remote Siberian forest in 1908 has been blamed on the most bizarre causes, such as an exotic elementary particle left over from the Big Bang, a black hole or, of course, aliens, including in the double-episode "Tunguska" of The X-Files. But a new analysis of tiny rock samples suggests that a more mundane explanation — a meteor exploding in the atmosphere — may be the right one.
The blast is estimated to have packed between 3 and 5 megatons, 10 times the energy of the meteor that exploded over Russia earlier this year.

Submission + - Sir Tim Berners-Lee lambasts NSA's PRISM (paritynews.com)

hypnosec writes: Sir Tim Berners-Lee has lashed out at the recent revelations of internet snooping and PRISM scandal and warned that “unwarranted government surveillance” of the internet is an act that threatens the foundations of a democratic society. In a statement issued through the World Wide Web Foundation he noted that the revelations about US National Security Agency keeps a tab on online activities of uses is ‘deeply concerning.’ Berners-Lee argued that because the use of internet may reveal some rather personal and sensitive information about users, it is vital that robust protections are put into place for protection of such information.

Submission + - Sony's PS4 to have less stringent DRM than Microsoft's Xbox One (ign.com)

Tackhead writes: E3 is turning into Bizarro World this year. Sony has not only promised that that the PS4 will support used games without an online connection, they trolled the Xbox folks hard with this Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video. Compounding the silliness, and hot on the heels of the political firestorm surrounding Donglegate, Microsoft went for rape jokes during their Xbox presentation. This isn't the first time that Microsoft has stumbled into an embarassment over gender issues, but at the rate the PR gaffes in the launch of the Xbox One are accumulating, perhaps they would have been better off just letting it happen; it’ll be over soon.

Submission + - Proposed NJ law allows cops to search phones at crash scenes (nj.com)

WML MUNSON writes: License, registration and cell phone, please. Police officers across New Jersey could be saying that to motorists at the scenes of car crashes if new legislation introduced in the state Senate becomes law. The measure would allow cops — without a warrant — to thumb through a cell phone to determine if a driver was talking or texting when an accident occurred. It requires officers to have "reasonable grounds" to believe the law was broken.

Submission + - Enemy of HRM, Paul Revere, Identified Using Metadata (kieranhealy.org)

cervesaebraciator writes: In the wake of recent revelations from Edward Snowden, apologists for the state security apparatus are predictably hitting the airwaves. Some are even 'glad' the NSA has been doing this. A major point they emphasize is that the content of calls have remained private and it is only the metadata that they're interested in. But given how much one can tell from interpersonal connections, does the surveillance only represent "modest encroachments on privacy"? It is easy enough to imagine how metadata on phone calls made to and from a medical specialist could be more revealing than we'd like. But social network analysis can reveal far more. Duke sociologist Kieran Healy, in a light-hearted but telling article, shows how one father of the American Revolution could have been identified using the simplest tools of social network analysis and only a limited dataset.

Comment Re:Yeah, I'll think about that for you. (Score 2) 204

Check your math. Gasoline sold at retail typically has 10% ethanol (usually corn-derived) and 90% actual gasoline. So if they did away with the alcohol, the price would go, well, probably nowhere, since alcohol's price isn't zero, and it has less energy per gallon than gasoline. It's there because the corn states and ethanol producers lobbied to require it. It is a net waste of energy since growing the corn and turning it to alcohol consumes more energy than it creates.

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