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Encryption

Paris Attacks Would Not Have Happened Without Crypto (arstechnica.com) 521

An anonymous reader writes with a story at Ars Technica, citing a Yahoo News interview, that National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers has explicitly blamed the terrorist attacks which struck Paris last November on communications backed by strong crypto. From the article: Because of encrypted communications, he said, "we did not generate the insights ahead of time. Clearly, had we known, Paris would not have happened." Rogers did not explicitly re-launch the campaign waged by FBI director James Comey to force technology companies to provide a "golden key" to encrypted communications. Rogers called encryption "foundational to our future" and added that arguing over encryption backdoors was "a waste of time." But he did say that encryption was making the job of the NSA and law enforcement more difficult. The interview comes shortly after the FBI won an order requiring Apple to provide technical means to bypass the security measures preventing them from unlocking the iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook. Farook, along with his wife, are responsible for the December mass shooting in San Bernardino, California."
Games

The Psychology of Achievement In Playing Games 80

A post on Pixel Poppers looks at the psychological underpinnings of the types of challenges offered by different game genres, and the effect those challenges have on determining which players find the games entertaining. Quoting: "To progress in an action game, the player has to improve, which is by no means guaranteed — but to progress in an RPG, the characters have to improve, which is inevitable. ... It turns out there are two different ways people respond to challenges. Some people see them as opportunities to perform — to demonstrate their talent or intellect. Others see them as opportunities to master — to improve their skill or knowledge. Say you take a person with a performance orientation ('Paul') and a person with a mastery orientation ('Matt'). Give them each an easy puzzle, and they will both do well. Paul will complete it quickly and smile proudly at how well he performed. Matt will complete it quickly and be satisfied that he has mastered the skill involved. Now give them each a difficult puzzle. Paul will jump in gamely, but it will soon become clear he cannot overcome it as impressively as he did the last one. The opportunity to show off has disappeared, and Paul will lose interest and give up. Matt, on the other hand, when stymied, will push harder. His early failure means there's still something to be learned here, and he will persevere until he does so and solves the puzzle."
Image

Teenager Invents Cheap Solar Panel From Human Hair 366

Renoise writes "Milan Karki, 18, who comes from a village in rural Nepal, believes he has found the solution to the developing world's energy needs. A solar panel made from human hair. The hair replaces silicon, a pricey component typically used in solar panels, and means the panels can be produced at a low cost for those with no access to power. The solar panel, which produces 9 volts (18 watts) of energy, costs around $38 US (£23) to make from raw materials. Gentlemen, start your beards. The future of hair farming is here!"
Image

Geeks Prefer Competence To Niceness 300

Death Metal writes "While everyone would like to work for a nice person who is always right, IT pros will prefer a jerk who is always right over a nice person who is always wrong. Wrong creates unnecessary work, impossible situations and major failures. Wrong is evil, and it must be defeated. Capacity for technical reasoning trumps all other professional factors, period."
Power

Expanding the Electricity Grid May Be a Mistake 412

Perhaps T. Boone Pickens was onto something. Al writes "An article in Technology Review argues that plans to string new high-voltage lines across the US to bring wind power from the midsection of the country to the coasts, could be an expensive mistake. What's needed instead are improved local and regional electricity transmission, the development of an efficient and adaptable smart grid, and the demonstration of technology such as carbon capture and sequestration, which could prove a cheaper way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions than transmitting power from North Dakota to New York City."
First Person Shooters (Games)

ArenaLive, an Open Source MMOFPS 95

ZeXx86 writes "ArenaLive is a new open source game based on the well-known OpenArena. Its aim is to become an open-source alternative to id Software's QuakeLive. The main idea is to make a game available in your web browser. So far, the game is playable and provides player stats, straight-forward settings for your account in a web browser and, of course, loads of fun with your friends. At the moment, it is available only for 32/64bit Mozilla Firefox on GNU/Linux, however, support for other platforms and browsers is coming soon. The game is licensed under GNU/GPL2. It's still in an early development stage, so players and developers both are welcome to join."
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Blizzard Confirms No LAN Support For Starcraft 2 737

Kemeno writes "Blizzard has announced that they will be dropping LAN support for Starcraft II, citing piracy and quality concerns. Instead, all multiplayer games will be hosted through their new Battle.net service. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this move, but wasn't LAN play how the original Starcraft became popular? Blizzard said, 'More people on Battle.net means ... even more resources devoted to evolving this online platform to cater to further community building and new ways to enjoy the game online. World of Warcraft is a great example of a game that has evolved beyond anyone's imagination since their Day 1 and will continue to do so to better the player experience for as long as players support the title. ... We would not take out LAN if we did not feel we could offer players something better.'"

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