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Earth

EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem 470

jones_supa writes "An EU citizen uses around 200 plastic bags per year. That's too much, says the EU. But wasting plastic bags is not just a European problem. Countries around the world are struggling with the issue, and it especially affects growing economies such as Asia. Some Southeast Asian countries don't even have the proper infrastructure in place to dispose of the bags properly. The problems for the environment are many. Plastic bags usually take several hundred years until they decay, thereby filling landfills, while animals often mistake the plastic for food and choke to death. Additionally they are a major cause of seaborne pollution, which is a serious hazard for marine life. This autumn, EU started ambitious plans which aim to reduce usage 80% by 2017. Some countries have already applied measures to slow plastic bag use: England has added a 5p charge to previously free bags, and in Ireland the government has already imposed a tax of 22 euro cents ($0.29) per plastic bag. The EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potonik, said, 'We're taking action to solve a very serious and highly visible environmental problem.'"

Comment Re:Hahaha (Score 4, Interesting) 144

If it was designed properly, they would not HAVE any information to sell (or leak when hacked). If, for example, I bought such a device for my kid's car, I would expect that the information it sends (including any unique identifier like a serial number in the equipment) is sent encrypted by my public key to the cloud service along with an unencrypted number representing ME (so that it can route to me in their system). I would have an application on my computer, tablet, etc. into which I could put my private key / certificate. It would download the encrypted information and decrypt it locally. Anything less - nope! No sale. If they are able to do alerts and geo fencing - it is clear that they get the information on location unecrypted and can access it. I would not want to get such a system...
XBox (Games)

Xbox One Released 310

Microsoft released the Xbox One today, putting the next-gen console war into full swing. A common theme throughout most of the reviews is that properly evaluating the system is going to take time. Not only are updates for the console continuing to roll out, but the usefulness of some of its technology will depend on what game-makers and other content producers can do with it. Digital Foundry says, "It is willing to make the trades on gaming power in order to potentially revolutionize the way we interact with entertainment in the living room." The Penny Arcade Report calls the hardware and UI a "confusing mess" — until you learn to use it, at which point the hands-free navigation is fast and convenient. Polygon's review is once again visually-oriented, providing a good look at the UI, comparing the controller with the Xbox 360's controller, and giving a demonstration of how Kinect recognizes users. Their conclusion is that while "Kinect isn't a fully realized product yet," "the Xbox One feels like it's from the future." iFixit has a full teardown of the Xbox One, giving it a repairability score of 8/10 (the Kinect sensor gets 6/10). HotHardware has more details about the console's internals, including power consumption and temperature readings. Eurogamer has a compilation of launch coverage, including launch title reviews.
Stats

How Perl and R Reveal the United States' Isolation In the TPP Negotiations 152

langelgjm writes "As /. reported, last Thursday Wikileaks released a draft text of the intellectual property chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Since then, many commentators have raised alarm about its contents. But what happens when you mix the leaked text together with Perl regular expressions and R's network analysis packages? You get some neat visualizations showing just how isolated the United States is in pushing for extreme copyright and patent laws."
Bug

Netflix Users In Danger of Unknowingly Picking Up Malware 153

An anonymous reader writes "Users of Silverlight, Microsoft's answer to Adobe Flash, are in danger of having malware installed on their computers and being none the wiser, as an exploit for a critical vulnerability (CVE-2013-0634) in the app framework has been added to the Angler exploit kit. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an attacker hosts a website that contains a specially crafted Silverlight application that could exploit this vulnerability and then convinces a user to view the website. The attacker could also take advantage of compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements." You'd think something like Silverlight would automatically upgrade itself.

Comment Re:Weird legal situation (Score 3, Insightful) 332

None of this matters. If any sort of canary became popular - EVERY site that had one would immediately get one of these secret orders. That order may be for something ludicrous (home phone of the CEO or something), but they would ALL get a secret order immediately. Boom. All the canarys are dead. And they no longer provide any information. Your move internet...
Bitcoin

Chinese Bitcoin Exchange Vanishes, Taking £2.5m of Coins With It 346

An anonymous reader writes "A Chinese Bitcoin exchange has vanished without trace, taking more than $4 million of the virtual currency with it and leaving profit-hungry investors out of pocket. GBL, the Chinese Bitcoin exchange was launched in May 2013 and putatively based in Hong Kong, despite its servers being registered in Beijing. However GBL's Hong Kong offices do not exist. GBL mysteriously disappeared in early November taking an estimated $4.1m (£2.6m) of Bitcoins with it." (Beware the auto-playing ads, with sound.)
Earth

Largest and Most Intense Tropical Cyclone On Record Hits the Philippines 160

mrspoonsi writes "A monstrous storm has arisen in the Western Pacific. The storm, called 'Supter-Typhoon Haiyan', has become the year's most intense. It bore down on the central Philippines this morning, packing winds up to 195 mph (314 km/h), with gusts up to 235 mph (378 km/h), threatening massive damage and sending over 100,000 people into evacuation centers. (Animation of landfall.) Flood waters went as high as 10 feet. The secretary general of the Philippine National Red Cross said, 'About 90% of the infrastructure and establishments were heavily damaged.'"
Government

Amazon Botches Sales Tax, Overcharges NJ 179

Hodejo1 writes "On July 1 Amazon started to charge sales tax to NJ residents, which is 7% in the state. But something was not right when I attempted to buy a book for my daughter. Just as I was about to finalize the order I noticed the charges were way off. The book cost $8.09. The tax I was to be levied was $0.85. That's a 10.5% tax rate! Why am I being charged 10.5%? It turns out that Amazon is also charging me tax on the $3.99 cost of shipping and handling. That's a problem, because New Jersey does not tax shipping and handling as I confirmed on the state's web site. I then checked a purchase I made from Amazon on October 7th of this year. Guess what? I was taxed on the $13.50 shipping and handling charge for that order. Now it is very possible — probable most likely — that this is nothing more than a coding error on Amazon's site. But it's a whopper! Just consider the hundreds-of-millions of dollars in sales Amazon makes in New Jersey each year. These extra dimes add up very quickly. Has Amazon been overcharging NJ residents' sales tax since July? If so, why haven't they picked it up by now?"

Comment The only real fix (Score 1) 545

There is only one real fix - abolish time zones completely. As the summary states, time is arbitrary. Duration may be based on something concrete (like the decay of a particle or something), but the actual time itself is indeed arbitrary. Let's just agree that everyone uses UTC and call it done. Can you imagine the benefit? When is that world cup football (US: soccer) match on? Oh, at 17:00. Who gives a rat's ass where it is now? It is on when it is on. No, hmm, it is in Brazil, that is x time zones from me - wait am I forward x or back y from that - heck, when the fuck is it on! Just one time. World wide. Why does it matter if we get up at 23:30? It is arbitrary. If your boss then expects you at work at 2:00 - fine. Later in the year, if they want to change that to 3:00, no problem. But the time itself is just a referent. There is absolutely no reason that it cannot be 14:00 in California, Singapore, and the UK at the same instant. Who cares where the sun appears to be if you look up at that same instant? It doesn't matter. What matters much more is being able to coordinate things easily on a global scale. Get it done!
Security

How I Compiled TrueCrypt For Windows and Matched the Official Binaries 250

First time accepted submitter xavier2dc writes "TrueCrypt is a popular software enabling data protection by means of encryption for all categories of users. It is getting even more attention lately following the revelations of the NSA as the authors remain anonymous and no thorough security audit have yet been conducted to prove it is not backdoored in any way. This has led several concerns raised in different places, such as this blog post, this one, this security analysis [PDF], also related on that blog post from which IsTrueCryptAuditedYet? was born. One of the recurring questions is: What if the binaries provided on the website were different than the source code and they included hidden features? To address this issue, I built the software from the official sources in a careful way and was able to match the official binaries. According to my findings, all three recent major versions (v7.1a, v7.0a, v6.3a) exactly match the sources."
Stats

Connecting To Unsecured Bluetooth Car Systems To Monitor Traffic Flow 161

New submitter TheTerseOne writes "The Columbian, the local newspaper of Vancouver (not BC), Washington (not DC) is reporting that local county traffic officials plan on spending $540k of government money to monitor traffic by connecting to vehicles' Bluetooth systems (whose owners/drivers have left them discoverable). The county claims that, although this sounds 'creepy' and 'like Big Brother,' there is no cause for concern. The specific brand of the system is not mentioned, but similar systems have already been the subject of security alerts." County officials note that they are stripping out part of the MAC, and the system is intentionally designed not to be useful for law enforcement to locate specific devices.

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