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Submission + - Could Advertising Pay for a Mission to Mars? (

Velcroman1 writes: Welcome to the manned mission to Mars — brought to you with limited interruptions by Bud Light. It's not so crazy, actually: One of the biggest obstacle to a potential space mission is finding the almost $150 billion dollars needed to develop the program. And tagging a future spaceship with the word “Drinkability” may seem ridiculous, but it's exactly what Rhawn Joseph has proposed in the latest issue of the Journal of Cosmology. “With clever marketing and advertising and the subsequent increase in public interest, between $30 billion to $90 billion can be raised through corporate sponsorships, and an additional $1 billion a year through individual sponsorships,” wrote Joseph, a scientist with the Brain Research Laboratory in California. Would you be OK with: "This journey to Mars brought to you by KFC"?

Submission + - Canadians Given 2 Weeks to Speak Out on Copyright (

An anonymous reader writes: A Canadian parliamentary committee has given Canadians until January 31, 2011 to have their say about a new copyright bill that many have characterized as a Canadian DMCA. The bill states that digital locks such as those found on DVDs and eBooks trump all user rights. The committee says that Canadians can submit their views in an email brief of up to 10 pages until the deadline.

Submission + - Researcher Warns of Smartphone Baseband Apocalypse (

Blacklaw writes: A security researcher is warning that recent advances in open-source mobile base stations could leave smartphones vulnerable to attack over-the-air, exploiting vulnerabilities in the previously unreachable baseband processor.
Ralf-Philipp Weinmann, a cryptologist and security researcher currently studying at the LACS Laboratory in the University of Luxembourg, is to take to the stage at this year's Black Hat DC conference with a presentation that will bring a chill to the heart of anyone in the telecommunications industry: an over-the-air attack against smartphones using a malicious base station.


Submission + - Deep Web Wiki: Improving Google's Search Relevance (

revbrain writes: There have been many comments about the decreasing relevancy of Google's search results lately. It's possible that Google's own users--through Google Custom Search Engines--might be able to help. One good example is the new Deep Web Wiki site. The DWW started as a directory of "deep web" sites, both un-indexed databases and useful (if unpopular) websites. While interesting, few really search directories any more when they need to find something. However, by mixing an index of "truly useful sites" with a Google Custom Engine, you often have much more relevant results than will ever return with a vanilla search while still taking advantage of Google's substantial crawling capabilities. The effect can be heightened with domain-specific searches; for example, the Deep Web Wiki Health & Medicine site has 42 focused engines that help filter the noise of general popularity. There's been great, unrealized promise in vertical search for some time. Perhaps that's changing.

Submission + - Breaching an AUP a crime in Western Australia (

An anonymous reader writes: A recent court case highlights that breaching an acceptable use policy at work could land you in court in Western Australia: a police officer doing a search of the police database for a friend was fined — not for disclosing confidential police information, but for unlawful use of a "restricted-access computer system" — cracking. More worryingly for West Australians, this legal blog points out that breaching any Acceptable Use Policy would seem to be enough to land you in jail for cracking — for example, using your internet connection to break copyright.

Submission + - Google Bulling Users to Use Chrome's PDF Viewer?

paleshadows writes: Most Chrome/Gmail users have probably noticed that opening a PDF attachment has become a lengthy and cumbersome operation, unless one chooses to "view" the PDF with Chrome's specialized viewer. Specifically, whereas "view" requires only a single click, "download" requires performing four operations: (1) clicking "download"; (2) pressing a "save" button after being told off that PDF "can harm you computer"; (3) opening the associated menu; and (4) choosing "open". No technical procedure exists to shorten this sequence.

Very many users have complained about the added complexity, but to no avail, their feedback generally being dismissed on the grounds that Chrome's plugin "really is safer". Users' anger seems to best be expressed in the answer voted most popular in one of the many related threads, saying, "I am not going to "cope with the warning". I am switching back to FF. Working in publishing, I need to download many PDFs every day from trusted sources. I can't add extra steps without affecting profitability."

Once upon a time, there was some powerful company that employed similar tactics to bully users into exclusively using a certain browser. Then another powerful company, in response, vowed not to be evil. So what is up with that?
The Internet

Submission + - IETF celbrates 25th aniversary (

FranckMartin writes: Little known to the general public the Internet standard body, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) celebrates its 25th birthday on the 16th January. DNSSEC, IDN, SIP, IPv6, HTTP, MPLS,.. all acronyms that were codified at the IETF. But little known, one can argue the IETF does not exist, it just happens that people meet 3 times a year in some hotel around the world and are on mailing lists in between. The openness of the IETF and its structure has inspired the way ICANN is run as well as the way the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has been open to the civil society.

Submission + - UN To Investigate Manning Confinement (

Frosty Piss writes: The lawyer for alleged Wikileaker Pfc. Bradley E. Manning has filed a request to military officials on Thursday seeking Manning's release. 'This request is based upon the fact that the confinement conditions currently being endured by Pfc. Manning are more rigorous than necessary to guarantee his presence at trial, and that the concerns raised by the government at the time of pretrial confinement are no longer applicable,' attorney David Coombs wrote. Meanwhile, the United Nations' anti-torture chief said Friday that he has asked the U.S. State Department to investigate Manning's treatment at a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. Confinement rules require guards to question Manning about his welfare every five minutes when he's awake, prevent him from exercising in his cell and bar him from keeping reading material overnight.

Comment A Law Student's thoughts: (Score 5, Informative) 137

Disclaimer: While I am an Australian law student, I've only read the summary of the decision, (c'mon, it's 200 pages), nor have I studied IP Law.

However, I do have a year of Law school behind me, so:

  - Australian law makes a distinction between findings of fact (i.e. John stabbed Mary) and findings of law (i.e. law x says stabbing is illegal). Findings of law can be appealed (you can argue the judge misinterpreted the law), but it's *much* harder to appeal a finding of fact. AIUI, there aren't many findings of fact in this case: the Justice found that Malone was a credible witness as a matter of fact, but the rulings on which the case was founded (i.e. that BitTorrent is the means of infringement, as opposed to the internet) are all findings of law.
  * tl;dr => Most of the ruling could be overturned on appeal.

  - The case was decided by a single judge of the Federal Court. That means that, IIRC, it will be appealed to the full court of the Federal Court (3+ judges). From that, it could be appealed to the High Court. (The highest court in Australia; equivalent to the Supreme Court in the US)
  * tl;dr => The appeal may not be the last, there could be another.

  - I'm not going to venture an opinion on the outcome of the appeal; I don't know enough. I also haven't been able to find AFACT's grounds of appeal; if I can I might be able to shed some more light on the possible success.
  * tl;dr => Who knows what will happen?

  - Ultimately, AFACT and their lobbyists will likely convince the politicians to change the law, whatever the outcome. This will probably suck - Aussie Communications Ministers traditionally do an average to poor job regardless of political persuasion. (examples include: mandatory filtering, "World's Greatest Luddite")
  * tl;dr => What ever happens, we're probably screwed because of politics.

Submission + - Handling Interviews after being a Fall Guy

bheer writes: "Salon's Since You Asked column is carrying an interesting question right now — what do you say in interviews after getting fired as a fall guy at your last job? Cary Tennis, who writes the column, admits he may not be the best person for this sort of question. So I thought I'd ask Slashdotters what they thought about this. Software developers are sometimes able to get away blaming the business requirements/analysis process, but anyone with any experience in this business probably has had nightmares about being the fall guy and may even have a strategy or two up their sleeve. How would deal with being in such a crummy position?"

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