Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Prizes Aside, the P-NP Puzzler Has Consequences

An anonymous reader writes: On the New York Times website, John Markoff writes an article motivated by a CACM article on The Status of the P Versus NP Problem. It is good to see some press for this great mathematical problem that come as a gift from theoretical computer science. Getting a mention in the Times impresses my mother more than any scientific article ever could. One of the sentences is tricky to parse :

An esoteric branch of mathematics known as algebraic geometry may offer an avenue to prove or disprove the problem, which was first outlined by Stephen A. Cook, a University of Toronto computer scientist, in 1971.

As you slashdot readers probably know, while Cook and Levine independently outlined the P vs. NP problem, the much more recent algebraic geometry (a mainstream branch of mathematics, not esoteric at all ...) approach is primarily due to Ketan Mulmuley


Submission + - What Really Caused The Hotmail Password Breach?

nandemoari writes: A security researcher claims a virus probably led to the compromising of 30,000 email passwords. However, most other sources continue to blame phishers. The email details appeared in two lists published by a user on a legitimate website designed for developers to share code. The first list included details of 10,000 Windows Live Hotmail accounts, while the second boasted 20,000. Mary Landesman of ScanSafe says that while investigating a piece of malicious software in August she discovered the people controlling it had around 5,000 Hotmail user names and passwords which appeared to have been gathered by the malware. She argues that a similar explanation is likely in the current cases.

Feed Science Daily: New Insights Into Cardiac Aging (

Researchers have found that the conserved protein d4eBP modulates cardiac aging in Drosophila (fruit flies). The team also found that d4eBP, which binds to the protein dEif4e, protects heart function against aging.

Submission + - Social Engineering Framework released ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday was the launch of the webs first social engineering framework. Looks to be pretty good so far, and not another "how to rip off best buy" site. Looks to be modeled off of the pentesters framework, but has a lot of application far beyond penetration testing. Plus, with the uptick of these sorts of attacks, looks to be very relevant today.

Submission + - SPAM: Saturnâ(TM)s never-ending thunderstorm sets s

coondoggie writes: If you are a fan of big lightning storms then take a look at Saturn, it has had one blasting away since January, setting the solar system record for thunderstorm longevity.

NASA's Cassini satellite watched the storm that began in January 2009 and is still cranking, in an area scientists call "Storm Alley," which lies 35 degrees south of Saturn's equator. The storm has broken the record duration of 7.5 months set by another thunderstorm observed on Saturn by the same NASA satellite between November 2007 and July 2008. Lightning discharges in Saturn's atmosphere emit very powerful radio waves, which are measured by the antennas and receivers of the Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science instrument. The radio waves from these storms help scientists study Saturn's ionosphere, the charged layer that surrounds the planet above the cloud tops, NASA stated.

[spam URL stripped]

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Security/Privacy Advice

James-NSC writes: My employer is changing its policy towards employee use of social networks. I've been asked to give a 40 minute presentation to the entire company (attendance is mandatory) on the security and privacy concerns pertaining to social networking. While I was putting it together, I ended up with some miscellaneous information that pertains to security/privacy in general. Ex: the emerging ATM skimming (mainly for our European employees), a reminder that email is not private, malware/drive-by in popular search results, things of that nature. Since these don't really fall into the slated topic, I've ended up with a section titled "While I have you...". I'm going to have the attention of every employee and with attendance being mandatory, I thought it would be a great opportunity to give advice on security/privacy issues as a whole and not just those pertaining to social networks. As it's an opportunity that one seldom gets, I'd hate to not utilize it to its full potential. If you had the attention of an entire company with employees in the US, UK, Asia and Australia, what advice would you give?

Submission + - Wikimedia Italia sued for 20,000,000 Euros (

Sbisolo writes: Wikimedia Italia, the Italian chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, has been sued for 20,000,000 â together with its former president, Frieda Brioschi by Antonio and Giampaolo Angelucci (a father and son), allegedly because of some edits made to the Italian Wikipedia's Antonio Angelucci article, which they claim were defamatory to the reputation of both men.

More info here:,000,000_%E2%82%AC
In italian:


Submission + - Planck Satellite Releases First Images (

davecl writes: The Planck Satellite has released its first images. These are from the 'First Look Survey' and show a strip of the sky scanned at a range of radio and submillimetre wavelengths. The results are already better than what was seen by the previous microwave background satellite, WMAP. ESA's coverage of the results can be found here, with more details and images available in English and French. The Planck Mission Blog contains more details of the project and continuing coverage. I maintain the mission blog but even I am impressed with these first images!

Submission + - British film 'Creation' banned in USA ( 8

thesappho writes: "From the story : "British film 'Creation' will not be coming to the United States because of its controversial theme. While the film opened the Toronto Film Festival to rave reviews, the religious undertones surrounding this Darwin biopic appear to be to much for the U.S. ". It seems that the film could not find even one distributor to be aired. Is this a kind of banning? negligence? censorship? or business decision?"

Submission + - Linux filesystems, POSIX and O_PONIES 2

chris-chittleborough writes: A recent article, "POSIX v. reality: A position on O_PONIES", explores the tension between file-system developers, userland programmers and people who just want their data to not disappear. Val Aurora argues that file-systems should recognize a rename() of one file over another as an "implicit ordering request" rather than requiring an "impossible to optimize" fsync(). Sounds like a plan.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Old operating systems don't die... (

Harry writes: "Haiku, an open-source recreation of legendary 1990s operating system BeOS, was released in alpha form this week. The news made me happy and led me to check in on the status of other once-prominent OSes--CP/M, OS/2, OS/2, AmigaOS, and more. Remarkably, none of them are truly defunct: In one form or another, they or their descendants are still available, being used by real people to accomplish useful tasks. Has there ever been a major OS that simply went away, period?"

Submission + - What happened to Google's Project 10 to the 100?

Andy writes: Google will be turning 11 years old this month. It got me thinking about last year's media stunt: project 10 to the 100 . Google committed $10 million to implement the ideas that would change the world by helping as many people as possible. The plan was to announce the winners January of this year which has come and gone. The Slashdot community had a lot of great ideas. Some of us were even motivated enough to write them down and submit for Google scrutiny. What the hell's taking Google so long? If they don't have time to review, post them online and let the public decide — or at least weed out the dumb ideas.
Social Networks

Submission + - Should we be able to bitch about our boss online? ( 3

boss man writes: In Australia, the fate of a group of six prison wardens lies in the hands of an industrial relations committee, after they landed themselves in trouble for writing awful things about their boss and other co-workers on a Facebook group page. Some comments even went so far as to call their boss Judas! Their boss, who says he was offended by the comments, is seeking to sack the group of employees, but the employees believe they should have the right to vent frustrations about their boss on Facebook. So, whose side are you on? One expert argues that we will see more of these cases appear as society struggles to come to grips with issues arising from social networking.

Submission + - Game Over for Older IBM Employees?

theodp writes: A 2007 IBM White Paper on The Future of IT Application Development (pdf) proposed a Logan's Run-like strategy for dealing with Baby Boomers — 'investing in global resources from geographies with a lower average age for IT workers, such as India or China.' And now comes word from the USPTO that to hasten such transitions, ten IBM 'inventors' came up with the idea of using immersive gaming environments to transfer expert knowledge held by employees 'aged 50 and older' to 18-25 year-old trainees who find manuals 'difficult to read and understand.' More details in IBM's just-published patent application for the 'Platform for Capturing Knowledge'. Non-IBMers shouldn't get too complacent — Big Blue discusses making the 'invention' available to other corporations in return for 'payment from the customer(s) under a subscription and/or fee agreement.'

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