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Security

Griefers Assault Epileptics Via Message Board 621

An anonymous reader tips us to a story up at Wired reporting on what may be the first computer attack to inflict physical harm on victims. Last Saturday, griefers posted hundreds of bogus messages on the support forums of the nonprofit Epilepsy Foundation that used JavaScript and strobing GIFs to trigger migraines and seizures in users. For about 3% of the 50 million epileptics worldwide, flashing lights and colors can trigger seizures. "'I don't fall over and convulse, but it hurts,' says [an IT worker in Ohio]. 'I was on the phone when it happened, and I couldn't move and couldn't speak.' ... Circumstantial evidence suggests the attack was the work of members of Anonymous, an informal collective of griefers best known for their recent war on the Church of Scientology. The first flurry of posts on the epilepsy forum referenced the site EBaumsWorld, which is much hated by Anonymous. And forum members claim they found a message board thread — since deleted — planning the attack at 7chan.org, a group stronghold."
The Media

Getting The Public To Listen To Good Science 419

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "We all know that false or misleading science headlines are all too common these days and that misleading media combined with an apathetic and undereducated public lead to widespread ignorance. But the real question is, how can this trend be reversed? At a session at the recent AAAS meeting, a study was discussed indicating that what matters most is how the information is portrayed. While people are willing to defer to experts on matters of low concern, for things that affect them directly, such as breast cancer or childhood diseases, expertise only counts for as much as giving off a 'sense of honesty and openness,' and that it matters far less than creating a sense of empathy in deciding who people will listen to. In other words, it's not enough to merely report on it as an expert. You need to make sure your report exudes a sense of honesty, openness, empathy, and maybe even a hint of humor."
Censorship

Internet Censorship's First Death Sentence? 475

mrogers writes "A journalism student in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death by a Sharia court for downloading and sharing a report criticizing the treatment of women in some Islamic countries. The student was accused of blasphemy and tried without representation. According to Reporters Without Borders, sixty people are currently in jail worldwide for criticizing governments online, fifty of them in China, but this may be the first time someone has been sentenced to death for using the internet. Internet censorship is on the rise worldwide, according to The OpenNet Initiative."

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