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The Military

Military Appoints General To Direct Cyber Warfare 132

An anonymous reader writes news from The Guardian, excerpting: "The US military has appointed its first senior general to direct cyber warfare – despite fears that the move marks another stage in the militarisation of cyberspace. The newly promoted four-star general, Keith Alexander, takes charge of the Pentagon's ambitious and controversial new Cyber Command, designed to conduct virtual combat across the world's computer networks. He was appointed on Friday afternoon in a low-key ceremony at Fort Meade, in Maryland."
Microsoft

Microsoft Facing Class-Action Suit Over Xbox Live Points 107

An anonymous reader tips news that a lawyer in Pennsylvania has filed a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft, alleging that the company's handling of Xbox Live transactions is, in some cases, fraudulent. "Samuel Lassoff, of Horsham, PA, said an invoice he received earlier this month from Microsoft included charges for purchases he couldn't complete due to a balky download system — and he claimed it wasn't an accident. Microsoft 'engaged in a scheme to unjustly enrich itself through their fraudulent handling' of his account, Lassoff charged in papers filed earlier this week in US District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania. ... 'Microsoft breached that contract by collecting revenues for digital goods and services which were not provided,' Lassoff said in his lawsuit."
Earth

Researchers Pooh-Pooh Algae-Based Biofuel 238

Julie188 writes "Researchers from the University of Virginia have found that current algae biofuel production methods consume more energy, have higher greenhouse gas emissions and use more water than other biofuel sources, such as switchgrass, canola and corn. The researchers suggest these problems can be overcome by situating algae production ponds behind wastewater treatment facilities to capture phosphorous and nitrogen — essential algae nutrients that otherwise need to come from petroleum."
Image

Facebook Master Password Was "Chuck Norris" Screenshot-sm 319

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Facebook employee has given a tell-all interview with some very interesting things about Facebook's internals. Especially interesting are all the things relating to Facebook privacy. Basically, you don't have any. Nearly everything you've ever done on the site is recorded into a database. While they fire employees for snooping, more than a few have done it. There's an internal system to let them log into anyone's profile, though they have to be able to defend their reason for doing so. And they used to have a master password that could log into any Facebook profile: 'Chuck Norris.' Bruce Schneier might be jealous of that one."
The Military

Aging Nuclear Stockpile Good For Decades To Come 160

pickens writes "The NY Times reports that the Jason panel, an independent group of scientists advising the federal government on issues of science and technology, has concluded that the program to refurbish aging nuclear arms is sufficient to guarantee their destructiveness for decades to come, obviating a need for a costly new generation of more reliable warheads, as proposed by former President Bush. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and other Republicans have argued that concerns are growing over the reliability of the US's aging nuclear stockpile, and that the possible need for new designs means the nation should retain the right to conduct underground tests of new nuclear weapons. The existing warheads were originally designed for relatively short lifetimes and frequent replacement with better models, but such modernization ended after the US quit testing nuclear arms in 1992. All weapons that remain in the arsenal must now undergo a refurbishment process, known as life extension. The Jason panel found no evidence that the accumulated changes from aging and refurbishment posed any threat to weapon destructiveness, and that the 'lifetimes of today's nuclear warheads could be extended for decades, with no anticipated loss of confidence.' But the panel added that federal indifference could undermine the nuclear refurbishment program (as this report from last May illustrates). Quoting the report (PDF): 'The study team is concerned that this expertise is threatened by lack of program stability, perceived lack of mission importance and degradation of the work environment.'"

Comment Re:Doesn't matter. (Score 1) 498

This ruling may follow the letter of the law in a narrow interpretation, but not the spirit of the law.

Anyone that is already using Glider already has the ability to see any of the encounters in the game. While the purpose of other copyright-circumventing devices is to display content the user hasn't economically paid for, with Glider the user has already paid for seeing all of the content.

The intended purpose of the law was to protect revenue streams of companies by ensuring that users pay for access to copyrightable works. Blizzard is using the law in this instance to protect their revenue stream by preventing other players from quitting the game, not using it to ensure that unauthorized users don't have access.

The real problem is that Blizzard is saying 'This using broke the cheating rule, therefore they were in violation of the EULA, therefore they weren't an authorized user, therefore any attempt to go around that protection is against the law', but glider's primary purpose is to allow cheating.

(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

Circumventing Warden is not the primary purpose of Glider, but rather is a secondary function in order to allow the primary purpose.

Robotics

Packs of Robots Will Hunt Down Uncooperative Humans 395

Ostracus writes "The latest request from the Pentagon jars the senses. At least, it did mine. They are looking for contractors to 'develop a software/hardware suite that would enable a multi-robot team, together with a human operator, to search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject. The main research task will involve determining the movements of the robot team through the environment to maximize the opportunity to find the subject ... Typical robots for this type of activity are expected to weigh less than 100 Kg and the team would have three to five robots.'" To be fair, they plan to use the Multi-Robot Pursuit System for less nefarious-sounding purposes as well. They note that the robots would "have potential commercialization within search and rescue, fire fighting, reconnaissance, and automated biological, chemical and radiation sensing with mobile platforms."
Biotech

Super-Light Plastic As Strong as Steel 226

Roland Piquepaille writes "A new composite plastic built layer by layer has been created by engineers at the University of Michigan. This plastic is as strong as steel. It has been built the same way as mother-of-pearl, and shows similar strength. Interestingly, this 300-layer plastic has been built with 'strong' nanosheets of clay and a 'fragile' polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), commonly used in paints and glue, which acts as 'Velcro' to envelop the nanoparticles. This new plastic could soon be used to design light but strong armors for soldiers or police officers. The researchers also think this material could be used in biomedical sensors and unmanned aircraft."
Toys

How To Turn a Mini Maglite Into a Laser 605

Lucas123 writes "Using the laser from a DVD burner, this instructional video shows you how to create a hand-held laser that is powerful enough to light a match and pop a balloon. There's some soldering involved and the Maglite's bulb housing needs to be drilled out to fit the new laser diode, but with some basic skill, most people could do this. Just plain cool." Update: 07/09 12:23 GMT by KD : Warning, the device that results from following these instructions will blind you if you look into it.
Media (Apple)

Ultimate iPhone Review — Will It Blend? 347

I've been enjoying the Will it Blend videos forever. There's something about a labcoat clad crazy man putting things like marbles and soda cans into a blender and after reducing them to powder, warning you not to breathe in the particles. Well today they ask the ultimate question of the latest over-hyped internet sensation Will the iPhone Blend? Fans of these videos can probably guess the answer... and this story made my morning. I've been waiting for an excuse to link these forever. If you haven't seen these, you're in for a real treat.
Communications

FCC Approves iPhone 230

An anonymous reader alerted us that the iPhone is one step closer to hitting shelves. "The Federal Communications Commission approved Apple Inc.'s iPhone, clearing the way for the combined phone and music player to hit the shelves. Apple expects to begin selling the phones in late June. Some of the FCC documents confirm a few features of the phone, including it will have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and will operate in the 1900MHz and 850MHz frequency bands. The phone uses GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology and the low-speed GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) wireless data standard."
Robotics

A Robotic Cable Inspection System 65

Roland Piquepaille writes "In a short article, Popular Science reports that researchers at the University of Washington have built a robotic cable inspection system. This system should help utility companies to maintain their networks of subterranean cables. The robot, dubbed Cruiser, is about 4-feet-long and is designed like a snake. When it detects an anomaly on an underground cable, it sends a message to a human operator via Wi-Fi. The first field tests took place in New Orleans in December 2006. But a commercial version should not be available before 2012."
Games

Your Mom And Gaming 76

Tomorrow is Mother's Day in the US, and Newsweek's N'Gai Croal rightly estimates that many gamers owe a lot to their mothers. Because they indulged what they likely initially saw as a strange choice of hobby, we have a thriving gaming industry to enjoy today. The Level Up site offers an interview with a woman on the Newsweek staff who learned to tolerate those 'console things', and another piece where N'Gai interviews his own mom about his games-related past. "N'Gai: Growing up, you allowed us kids to have a computer, but we weren't allowed to have a videogame machine. What was your thinking behind that? Yvonne Croal: Well, in my estimation at that time, videogames were just another silly game. We certainly didn't want you to be spending 24/7 playing these games that we considered not productive in any way." If you're still looking for a gift for your own mom, Pop Cap is giving away a free copy of Bejeweled to anyone that signs up for their newsletter. Worked on my mom. Happy Mother's Day.

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