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Submission + - Wyoming teen who built fusion reactor disqualified from science fair (

An anonymous reader writes: "A Wyoming high school student who built a nuclear reactor in his dad's garage was disqualified from the International Science and Engineering Fair this month on a technicality."

His crime: competing in too many science fairs.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Web developers, why restrict special characters in passwords? 5

An anonymous reader writes: I recently had to reset a password used to access an investment account. The instructions stated:

"Do not use symbols, punctuation marks, or spaces (e.g.,#,@,/,*,-.)"

Are there any valid technical reasons for this? If I were to build such a web authentication system, I would have the application server convert the %XX characters from the POST string, salt and hash the value, convert it to a format applicable to the application/storage (i.e. unsigned int, HEX64, etc), then compare it to what I had stored in some flat file or database (depending on the application). Since the format of the password would be immediately converted to a different format, character limitations wouldn't be necessary. At most I would limit the size of acceptable password to save CPU cycles on computing hashes on long inputs. I can see limitations on usernames because it is likely this information is stored in a SQL queried DBMS. Limiting characters would protect the database from SQL injection.

I have worn several different IT hats, web developer is one of the few I haven't worn. I am hoping some web developers here might be able to shine some light on this. Is my general idea of how to go about building an authentication system solid? Am I missing some storage or performance/session related issue?

Submission + - Oklahoma City has a data center built to withstand winds up to 310 MPH (

dcblogs writes: The area around and to the southwest of Oklahoma City, where more tornadoes were disclosed details, "has perhaps the greatest frequency of tornadoes in the U.S.," said John Snow, a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. About 95% of all tornadoes are below EF3 intensity, and only 0.1% achieve EF5, which is what hit Moore earlier this month. To build a data center capable of surviving an EF3, Perimeter Technology in Oklahoma City surrounded the raised floor portion of the data center with 8.5-in. concrete, reinforced walls. The data center is in the middle of the building, and around it are offices protected by another 8.5-in. exterior wall. But there's another data center in Oklahoma City that may be able survive 310 MPH winds. The company, Devon Energy, isn't talking about its data center or even confirm that it has one capable of handling these winds. But a contractor has disclosed details.

Submission + - don't say "42" 1

swell writes: "I'm preparing a concise video that considers the question "What is the meaning of life?" I've read some historical perspectives (see Wikipedia) and some modern ideas, but you, an enlightened member of the Slashdot elite, are bound to have a more interesting angle. If you can link to sound, pics, video or essays that illustrate your thoughts, so much the better. If you have the ultimate answer we will all be grateful and worship at your feet."

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