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Security

Submission + - Cyber Attack Test Destroys Power Plant Generator (cnn.com) 1

Somegeek writes: CNN has revealed that there was a test performed in March 2007 where the Department of Homeland Security evaluated what a cyber attack could do against a power plant. The attackers in the classified test were able to take control of the plant's control software and modify the settings of a large generator to the point where it self-destructed. The story relates that until then, they had always believed that the worst that could happen was that attackers would be able to turn something off. An economist looked at a scenario where a third of the US was without power for three months due to destroyed power plant equipment and put a price tag on the massive attack at 700 billion dollars.

They have been working on fixing the vulnerabilities that they found at power plants across the country, but how many other plant control systems need to be fixed? Is it possible to look at severing all computer connections between plant control systems and all other networks and expect them to still function?

Google

Submission + - Will Google lose its trademark? 1

140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Once upon a time, Google was the new kid on the block in the search engine arena. Then it became the big kahuna of that area. There was a time when using google as a verb would have brought a smile. But now every body and his brother and even the prim and proper, stiff upper lip and what not types like the Deputy Attorney General Ronald Smetana are using it as a verb. The quotes have been dropped, the capitalization still persists as some vestigial token acknowledging it as a neologism.

Already a number of dictionaries define google as a plain English word. If OED or some such big name dictionary includes it, would Google lose its trademark? Does Google have lawyers who assiduously take steps to protect its trademark and not allow it to become a generic word to mean "search the internet"? Didn't Xerox lose its trademark or came close to losing it? Imagine a world where Microsoft Live could be branded as "Microsoft Live Google"!
Privacy

Submission + - Aussie Software Pirate Extradited to USA

rjodwyer writes: "Hew Griffiths, an Australian is has been extradited for trial in America for crimes committed outside of the USA, and to a country to which he has never set foot in. Leader of the infamous Drink or Die cracking group, he has been extradited to the USA, in what only seems to be Australia bowing under pressure from America. As Australian Senator Ellison had the power to refuse extradition, this looks like Australia handed him over to satisfy corporate interests in America. His fellow crackers had their trials conducted in their own countries."
The Matrix

Submission + - Can you prove we are not in The Matrix?

Herby Sagues writes: "The theories that claim that we are not living in the real world but we live in a simulated world run on computers instead, in which we are either part of the simulation (like in "13th floor") or just plugged to it (like in The Matrix) are not taken seriously by most, but have not be disproven either. Can you propose an experiment that would prove (or disprove) we run in the real world? Playing with intractable problems, discrete time or other techniques might yield results, though you must consider the possibility of nontraditional (i.e. not temporal/spatial) simulations."
Education

Submission + - New TI graphing calculator now public

An anonymous reader writes: Texas Instruments has just unveiled its next generation of graphing calculators the weekend with the TI-Nspire. TI calculators are famous not only in the educational arena but also with the hobbyist hacker crowd around the world because of the ease (or some would say complexity) of which it is to develop for them. The TI-Nspire comes in both CAS (computer aided algebra) and non CAS flavors, and as an added bonus, the non CAS models even includes a fully functioning TI-84+ compatibility mode using a replaceable TI-84+ keypad (which is sure to come as a delight to 84 hackers and gamers everywhere). It packs 20MB of storage and 16MB of memory, an ARM based processor, a 320x240 grayscale LCD, and a USB port. The TI-Nspire should be out in the fall to specific dealers, and in retail stores by early 2008, just in time for back to school in 2008.
Television

Submission + - Analog TV is out Digital is in

db32 writes: At sfgate we have the story of the cutoff date for those rabbit ear antennas we all grew up with. Now while the story of analog vs digital TV has been beaten to death, and what it means for our future viewing I think there is something worse here. "The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said it is setting aside $990 million to pay for the boxes. Each home can request up to two $40 coupons for a digital-to-analog converter box, which consumer electronics makers such as RCA and LG plan to produce." Beyond my disdain for most TV to begin with, I am blown away that with all of our current problems from the at home social issues of homelessness and crime, and our foreign policy and war fighting efforts that our government is seriously going to spend this much money on upgrading peoples TVs. So at $80 per household the government could buy most people a year long subscription to their local newspaper instead, but instead we get TV upgrades. Is this what our society has finally come to?
Microsoft

Submission + - Bill Gates speaks out against immigration curbs

Jeian writes: None other than Bill Gates has spoken out against tighter immigration policies in the US. According to Gates, the US is losing skilled immigrants to other countries that are easier to immigrate to. Among his comments: "I personally witness the ill effects of these policies on an almost daily basis at Microsoft."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Don't Fear the Raptor

Duck X writes: "Ever worry about what you'd do if velociraptors or other dromeosaurids overcame some 70 million years of extinction and came after you? Thanks to Dr. Daniel Snyder, a paleontologist from Knox College, we now know. Apparently, due to being the ancestors of modern birds, they may share some biology with them. Enough biology that they might very well be repulsed by methyl anthranilate, just like birds are. Not one to leave us wondering where and how to get that strange chemical, Dr. Snyder has a solution: "Thus, I recommend you carry around a loaded SuperSoaker filled with Concord grape juice. Fresh-squeezed would be ideal, but from concentrate should be effective as well. This will not only have the theoretical asset of protecting you from Velociraptor, it will have the pragmatic asset of protecting you from thirst.""

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