Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates ( 1

Lucas123 writes: When two gun stores attempted to sell the nation's first integrated smart gun, the iP1, gun advocacy groups were charged in media reports with organizing protests that lead to the stores pulling the guns from their shelves or reneging on their promise to sell them in the first place. But, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation say they do not oppose smart gun technology, which they call "authorized user recognition" firearms. "We do oppose any government mandate of this technology, however. The marketplace should decide," Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for the NSSA, wrote in an email reply to Computerworld. However, the argument for others goes that if stores begin selling smart guns, then legislators will draft laws requiring the technology.

Submission + - Are Electric-Car Owner's Experiencing "Charge Rage?"

cartechboy writes: Since the dawn of electric cars the term "range anxiety" has been the emotion associated with these battery-powered vehicles. The thought of, "ZOMG! Will I make it to my destination?" always running through your mind. But now there's apparently a new emotion being associated with electric cars, and it's called "charge rage." Apparently this occurs when you are looking for a charging spot and find a fully charged, but plugged in electric car occupying that space. It also is reported to occur when you come back to your electric car to find someone has unplugged it before it was fully charged (who does that?) so they could charge their vehicle. It seems this new "charge rage" is becoming a real issue at some workplaces. But who is to blame? Is the employer's fault for not providing enough chargers for employee-owned electric cars? Or is it the electric car owner's fault for not controlling their emotions? Or is this all simply ridiculous? We aren't sure, but apparently this is a real issue, or at least it's being reported as such.

Submission + - Running 16 Bit Windows Applications on 64 Bit Operating Systems (

Dangerous_Minds writes: ZeroPaid has recently posted a guide on how to get 16 bit Windows video games and applications running again on 64 bit operating systems. While the guide is directed at video games running on Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit), it could possibly be used on just about any operating system. The difficulty in running these particular applications is the fact that you need the Windows environment to run (not just Dosbox). The guide also points out that if you are running at some of the higher resolutions, the memory footprint of this concept is only about 100k. What 16 bit applications do you remember toying with back in the day?

Submission + - Implantable Microchips Under the Skin? This really is redefining the future.... (

PharmaTechnology writes: "Pill popping and injections are routine but could a wirelessly controlled microchip change drug delivery forever? A recent MIT project to embed a microchip directly under a patient’s skin could improve both drug delivery and change lives, not only for the short term, but for a lifetime

"You could literally have a pharmacy on a chip," adds MIT Professor Robert Langer, another co-author of the paper.""


Submission + - Small Molecule May Play Big Role in Alzheimer's Disease (

aarondubrow writes: "Researchers from UC Santa Barbara used the Ranger supercomputer to simulate small forms of amyloid peptides that are believed to be a primary cause of toxicity in Alzheimer's disease. They found that hairpin-shaped forms of the peptide initiated the aggregation of oligomers that ultimately led to the formation of a fibril. The simulations are leading to new diagnostic and treatment options they may stop the disease."

Submission + - wireless civnet? 1

Sleen writes: Hi, I am curious how to make a civilian supported wireless/wired/cellular network that allows users to share bandwidth and content. It appears as though the first internet is destructable after all. I am interested in solutions without central authority for naming, resolution, dynamic aggregation and distribution. Essentially a way to make spontaneous clouds that are regional, efficient, persistent. Hopefully such an approach will be useful in non terrestrial domains as well. I would like to start something like this in Portland Oregon, and invite anyone to contribute research or experience in a user based free civilian communication network.

Submission + - wireless civnet? 1

Sleen writes: Hi, I am curious how to make a civilian supported wireless/wired/cellular network that allows users to share bandwidth and content. It appears as though the first internet is destructable after all. I am interested in solutions without central authority for naming, resolution, dynamic aggregation and distribution. Essentially a way to make spontaneous clouds that are regional, efficient, persistent. Hopefully such an approach will be useful in non terrestrial domains as well. I would like to start something like this in Portland Oregon, and invite anyone to contribute research or experience in a user based free civilian communication network.

Submission + - There Is a Link between Genius and Insanity ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Genius and insanity may actually go together, according to scientists who found that mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are often found in highly creative and intelligent people.

The link is being investigated by a group of scientists who had all suffered some form of mental disorder.


Submission + - Rutger's student Dharun Ravi Sentenced to 30-Day Jail Time

parallel_prankster writes: New York Times reports that a judge in New Jersey has sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail Monday for using a webcam to spy on his Rutgers University roommate having sex with a man, in a case that galvanized concern about suicide among gay teenagers but also prompted debate about the use of laws against hate crimes. The case drew wide attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, a few days after learning of the spying. A jury convicted Mr. Ravi in March of all 15 counts against him, which included invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. The relatively light sentence — he faced up to 10 years in prison — surprised many who were watching the hearing, as it came after the judge spent several minutes criticizing Mr. Ravi’s behavior.

Submission + - NATO Just Spent $1.7 Billion On Five Giant Spy Drones (

pigrabbitbear writes: "Well, the joke’s on you if recent video of an unmanned aircraft allegedly spotted 40 miles outside Chicago had you fooled. The clip shows something resembling a Predator drone screaming across overcast suburban skies. And while that may not be an uncommon sight in the near future – the FAA is now greenlighting domestic civilian drones."

Submission + - Barely Breathing Microbes Still Living in 86-Million-Year-Old Clay (

sciencehabit writes: At first glance, there doesn't appear to be much happening in the mud buried 30 meters below the Pacific Ocean sea floor. But this ancient muck, which hasn't had a fresh shot of food or sunlight since the days of the dinosaurs, still harbors life—if just barely. Scientists have discovered that deep-sea microbial communities, buried for 86 million years, are still consuming oxygen, albeit at extraordinarily low rates. These microorganisms eking out an existence in slow motion reveal just how little it takes to sustain life on our own planet, and potentially on others.

Submission + - Hacking The Law ( 1

sethopia writes: "Brooklyn Law School's Incubator and Policy Clinic (BLIP) hosted its first "Legal Hackathon." Instead of hacking computer code, attendees — mostly lawyers, law students, coders, and entrepreneurs — used the hacking ethos to devise technologically sophisticated solutions to legal problems, These included attempts to crowdsource mayoral candidacies in New York City and hacking model privacy policies for ISPs."

Submission + - CISPA Is A Really Bad Bill, And Here's Why (

SolKeshNaranek writes: CISPA at a Glance:
In broad terms, CISPA is about information sharing. It creates broad legal exemptions that allow the government to share "cyber threat intelligence" with private companies, and companies to share "cyber threat information" with the government, for the purposes of enhancing cybersecurity. The problems arise from the definitions of these terms, especially when it comes to companies sharing data with the feds.


The forces behind HR 3523, the dangerous Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act which is going to move forward in Congress at the end of the month, are beginning to get cagey about the growing backlash from the internet community. In an attempt to address some of the key concerns, the bill's authors, representatives Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, hosted a conference call specifically geared at digital reporters. The invitation was for "Cyber Media and Cyber Bloggers" (seriously) and took place at 7am Silicon Valley time—thus demonstrating that they are totally in touch with the tech community. During the call, the representatives were intent on hammering certain points home: that the bill respects privacy and civil liberties, is not about surveillance, is targeted at actions by foreign states, and is nothing like SOPA.

Unfortunately, none of that is really true. The text of the bill, even with the two key amendments made since (all pdf links and embedded below), is still full of extremely broad definitions which fail to create the safeguards that the representatives insist are present, and which leave room for dangerous unintended consequences.

Is CISPA the new SOPA?
This is the notion that the reps behind the bill are most desperate to kill. Their primary response is that CISPA has nothing to do with seizing domains or censoring websites, but that's only true on the surface. The bill defines "cybersecurity systems" and "cyber threat information" as anything to do with protecting a network from:

(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or

(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.

It's easy to see how that definition could be interpreted to include things that go way beyond network security—specifically, copyright policing systems at virtually any point along a network could easily qualify. And since one of the recipients of the shared information would be Homeland Security—the department that includes ICE and its ongoing domain seizures—CISPA creates the very real possibility for this information to be used as part of a SOPA-like crusade to lock down the internet. So while the bill itself has nothing to do with domain seizures, it gives the people behind such seizures a potentially powerful new weapon.

The reps insist that when they refer to intellectual property, they are not thinking about media piracy or even counterfeiting, but about foreign-based attacks on domestic companies to steal their research and development (they tout examples like the plans for jet fighters). Unfortunately, the bill's definitions create no such restriction, leaving the door wide open for more creative interpretations.

How can the government use the information?
The original text of the bill was really bad, simply saying the government cannot use the information for "regulatory purposes." This was amended to be more restrictive, but not by much: now, the same broad "cybersecurity" definition applies to what they can use the data for, and as if that wasn't enough, they can also use it for "the protection of the national security of the United States." I don't need to tell you that the government is not exactly famous for narrowly interpreting "national security."

So is CISPA a surveillance bill?
The bill specifically prohibits the government from requiring anyone to hand over information, or offering any sort of "quid pro quo" data sharing arrangement. Sharing information is voluntary, and as far as the bill's supporters are concerned, that should end the debate. Of course, as we've seen with things like the warrantless wiretapping scandal, complicity between companies and the government, even when legally questionable, is common and widespread. But even if the safeguards work, CISPA will undoubtedly allow for invasions of privacy that amount to surveillance.

Firstly, while the reps insist that the bill only applies to companies and not individuals, that's very disingenuous. CISPA states that the entity providing the information cannot be an individual or be working for an individual, but the data they share (traffic, user activity, etc.) will absolutely include information about individuals. There is no incentive in the bill to anonymize this data—there is only a clause permitting anonymization, which is meaningless since the choice of what data to share is already voluntary. Note that any existing legal protections of user privacy will not apply: the bill clearly states that the information may be shared "notwithstanding any other provision of law".

So we've got the government collecting this data, potentially full of identifying information of users in the U.S. and elsewhere, and they are free to use it for any of those broadly defined cybersecurity or national security purposes. But, it gets worse: the government is also allowed to affirmatively search the information for those same reasons—meaning they are by no means limited to examining the data in relation to a specific threat. If, for example, a company were to provide logs of a major attack on their network, the government could then search that information for pretty much anything else they want.

Can CISPA be fixed?
Most of the new provisions currently being considered for CISPA have to do with adding oversight and liability to prevent the government from violating any of the terms—but that doesn't address the problems in the bill at all, since the terms are already so broad. CISPA would require significant new restrictions to come anywhere close to being a good bill—a fact that points to Congress' inability to effectively design internet regulation. Moreover, there isn't even clear evidence that new cybersecurity laws are necessary. This is a bill that needs to die.

The EFF has a tool to help you contact your representative about CISPA and the broader issue of cybersecurity legislation. The bill is going to the House the week of April 23rd, so now is the time to get involved. As with SOPA, this is not an issue that solely effects Americans: the data may come from U.S. companies, but it will involve people from all over the world—and, indeed, foreign entities are one of the bill's prime targets. It's once again time for the internet to speak up and send a clear message to Congress: don't mess with something you don't understand.

Slashdot Top Deals

"All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in. I'm glad they are a snowman with protective rubber skin" -- They Might Be Giants