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Submission + - Unlimited Food Stamps During System Outage

AaronLS writes: Electronic Benefits Transfer(EBT) card holders were allowed unlimited spending at some Walmart locations during an outage of the system that is used to determine spending limits. Some people hauling out multiple carts of groceries. According to system operator Xerox, there's an “agreed and documented process for retailers like Walmart to follow in response to EBT outage.” It is not clear whether or not Walmart followed this procedure or not, but Walmart spokesperson stated the decision was made to "contine[SIC] to accept EBT cards during the outage so that they could get food for their families.” Other retailers simply did not allow purchases during the outage. Xerox stated they would work to determine the cause and prevent future outages, but did not specifically state whether they would take steps to prevent unlimited spending during future outages.

Was this unlimited spending a flaw of the system and procedure, an intended procedure, or did Walmart simply not follow appropriate procedure? If Walmart took it upon themselves to allow unauthorized spending during the outage, why did they not at least impose a reasonable limit that would allow a family to get through the next day?

This news has already incited a lot of inflammatory and childish debate across the web from both those who are pro and anti-foodstamps, drowning out any intelligent analysis of the system/procedures that caused this event.

Submission + - The HP Memristor Debate (

AaronLS writes: "(Note: I would have included links and appropriate formatting for quotes within the story, but I have searched and searched and found no guidelines in the FAQ or googling your site that indicate what formatting tags or HTML are valid for stories.)

There has been a debate about whether HP has or has not developed a memristor. It being something fairly different from existing technologies, and similar in many ways to a memristor, I think they felt comfortable using the term. However, there are those not happy about HP using that labeling. On the other hand, had HP created a new unique label, they would have probably gotten flack for pretending it's something new when it's not. What positive will come from the debate? Martin Reynolds sums it up nicely:

“Is Stan Williams being sloppy by calling it a ‘memristor’? Yeah, he is,” Martin Reynolds tells Wired. “Is Blaise Moutett being pedantic in saying it is not a ‘memristor’? Yeah, he is. [...] At the end of day, it doesn’t matter how it works as long as it gives us the ability to build devices with really high density storage.”"


Submission + - Compromised Steam Data Included Credit Card Info (

AaronLS writes: "Steam has released additional information about a previous security breach, indicating that with the help of third party security experts they have determined no passwords were compromised, but billing information and credits cards were compromised. This information was encrypted, but no details were given on the level or type of this encryption, which would be significant since the attackers would have free reign to throw as much computing power at trying to decrypt the data, either through brute force guessing of the key or other means if the encryption has weaknesses. Also of significance, would be whether all the data shared the same key, or if each user's billing information was encrypted with a different key."

Submission + - Flash Density Increasing w/25nm Triple Level Cells (

AaronLS writes: has a story indicating Intel and Micron planning production this year for Triple Level Cell flash on 25nm Lithography. This means that 3 bits instead of 2 can be stored in each cell, and the smaller 25nm Lithography generally allows more cells to be fit in the same area.
  This combination should provide a considerable improvement to the density, and hopefully cost, of flash based storage. Read more at

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