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Security

McCain Campaign Sells Info-Loaded Blackberry PDAs 165

An anonymous reader writes "A news station in Washington D.C. has reported that the McCain Campaign has allegedly sold to reporters Blackberry handhelds with campaign-related information such as e-mail messages and phone numbers: 'We traced the Blackberry back to a staffer who worked for "Citizens for McCain" ... The emails contain an insider's look at how grassroots operations work, full of scheduling questions and rallying cries for support ... But most of the numbers were private cell phones for campaign leaders, politicians, lobbyists and journalists. "Somebody made a mistake," one owner told us. "People's numbers and addresses were supposed to be erased."'"
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Four Add-ons Planned For Sins of a Solar Empire 68

With the first add-on pack for Sins of a Solar Empire arriving in just under a month, publisher Kalypso Media has announced that three more add-ons are on their way as well. Gamespot has an early look at the first add-on, Entrenchment, and a couple of additional screenshots are available at Shacknews. The game's creative director, Craig Frazer, also explained their reasoning for making small expansions rather than large ones: "If PC gaming is to survive, the industry will need to be open to change. We went out on a limb with our anti-DRM stance and it paid off really well. We tried an unusually long beta period and that worked as well. Micro-expansions are just another experiment we are trying out to improve the market. These small expansions give us the opportunity to provide highly focused, high quality content within a reasonable time frame. Micro-expansions also reduce the development risk associated with 1-3 year cycles. With lower risk, we can be far more progressive in terms of gameplay and content."
Censorship

Afghan Student Gets 20 Years For Blasphemy 618

Invisible Pink Unicorn writes "Despite nationwide public support for his initial death sentence, a three-judge appeals court has reduced the sentence of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh to 20 years in prison. Kambakhsh was charged with circulating an article on women's rights that he found online. From the article: 'Family members have said Kambakhsh was beaten and threatened with death until he signed a confession and that local journalists who expressed support for him were warned they would be arrested if they persisted.'"
Security

For 3 Years, Scammers Ran Truckless Trucking Company 244

mikesd81 writes "Wired reports Nicholas Lakes and Viachelav Berkovich are charged with computer fraud [PDF] for a man-in-the-middle attack that allegedly let them run a profitable trucking company without the hassle of driving a truck. For over three years the Russian immigrants hacked a Department of Transportation website called Safersys.org, which maintains a list of licensed interstate trucking companies and brokers. They then went on forums where brokers advertise cargo in need of transportation and negotiate a deal, for example, to transport cargo from American Canyon, California, to Jessup, Maryland, for $3,500. But instead of transporting the load, they would outsource the job to another trucking company posing as the legitimate company whose identity they'd hijacked. They would then invoice the company and take the money. When the company that owned the actual truck tried to contact the company that needed the goods delivered, they found they knew nothing about it. Over all they made nearly $500,000."
Communications

Handling Caller ID Spoofing? 556

An anonymous reader writes "A nice little old lady I know has had her number spoofed by some car warranty scammers. They're calling hundreds of potential victims per day pretending to use her phone number, and the angry ones call her back; some of them have even left death threats. She's terrified. Some well-intending anti-telemarketing folks have posted her address on the 'net as well. How can we figure out where these scammer bastards are, and what's the state of the current legislation to prevent caller ID spoofing? I called the FBI in Boston (near where she lives) and they said they can't help. She's called her phone company, but they said they can't help either. She's had the same number for over 50 years and doesn't want to change it." If the Feds can't or won't handle it, what's the best approach here?
Power

Computers Causing 2nd Hump In Peak Power Demand 375

Hugh Pickens writes "Traditional peak power hours — the time during the day when power demand shoots up — run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. when air conditioning begins to ramp up and people start heading for malls and home but utilities are now seeing another peak power problem evolve with a second surge that runs from about 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. when people head toward their big screen TVs and home computers. 'It is [not] so much a peak as it is a plateau,' says Andrew Tang, senior director of the smart energy web at Pacific Gas & Electric. '8 p.m. is kind of a recent phenomenon.' Providing power during the peak hours is already a costly proposition because approximately 10 percent of the existing generating capacity only gets used about 50 hours a year: Most of the time, that expensive capital equipment sits idle waiting for a crisis. Efforts to reduce demand are already underway with TV manufacturers working to reduce the power consumption in LCD and plasma while Intel and PC manufacturers are cranking down computer power consumption. 'Without a doubt, there's demand' for green PCs, says Rick Chernick, CEO of HP partner Connecting Point, adding that the need to be green is especially noticeable among medical industry enterprise customers."
Spam

Now Even Photo CAPTCHAs Have Been Cracked 340

MoonUnit writes "Technology Review has an interesting article about the way CAPTCHAS are fueling AI research. Following recent news about various textual CAPTCHAs being cracked, the article notes that a researcher at Palo Alto Research Center has now found a way crack photo-based CAPTCHAs too. Most approaches are based on statistical learning, however, so Luis von Ahn (one of the inventors of the CAPTCHA) says it is usually possible to make a CAPTCHA more difficult to break by making a few simple changes."
Space

Mysteries Swirl Around Cyclones At Saturn's Poles 67

Riding with Robots writes "New images of Saturn from the robotic spacecraft Cassini are shedding new light on monstrous storms that swirl at both poles of the ringed planet. 'These are truly massive cyclones, hundreds of times stronger than the most giant hurricanes on Earth,' said one mission scientist. Cumulus clouds twirl around the vortices, betraying the presence of giant thunderstorms lurking beneath. But the storms do not disturb the bizarre hexagonal cloud formation previously reported."
Government

President Signs Law Creating Copyright Czar 555

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "President Bush has signed the EIPRA (AKA the PRO-IP Act) and created a cabinet-level post of 'Copyright Czar,' on par with the current 'Drug Czar,' in spite of prior misgivings about the bill. They did at least get rid of provisions that would have had the DOJ take over the RIAA's unpopular litigation campaign. Still, the final legislation (PDF) creates new classes of felony criminal copyright infringement, adds civil forfeiture provisions that incorporate by reference parts of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, and directs the Copyright Czar to lobby foreign governments to adopt stronger IP laws. At this point, our best hope would appear to be to hope that someone sensible like Laurence Lessig or William Patry gets appointed."
Science

CO2 To Fuel, Closing the "Carbon Loop" 316

leprasmurf writes "Inhabitat has posted an article detailing a recent announcement of a process to turn CO2 into fuel. The process, which used to be considered too energy inefficient, uses a multi-step, low pressure, and low temperature biocatalyst to break the CO2 into 'basic hydrocarbon building blocks.'"
Games

Fallout 3 Gets Leaked, Goes Gold 249

Fallout 3 is due to be released in a few weeks, and Bethesda recently announced that all versions of the game have gone gold. They provided the systems specs for the PC release as well. Unfortunately for them, the Xbox 360 version was leaked onto torrent sites almost three weeks early. Bethesda is "looking into" how the game was distributed. In preparation for the launch, game director Todd Howard spoke at length with Gamasutra about the scope of the project, and the differences from their previous games, such as Oblivion. CrispyGamer recently ran a three-part series detailing their four hours of hands-on time with the game. We've previously looked at some gameplay videos for Fallout 3, and discussed the fact that no mod tools will ship with the game.
Debian

Bugs Delay Release of Debian Lenny 227

A. B. VerHausen writes to tell us that over 200 release-critical bugs continue to push back Debian Lenny's release date. Originally slated for a September release, there is still a long road to be traveled before Lenny sees the light of day. Project leader Steve McIntyre says they may consider dropping some packages for the release if they continue to cause problems, and while an end of October release is the goal, only time will tell.
Idle

Saudi Arabia Bans Roses 3

Saudi Arabia's religious police are seeing red over red roses. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has ordered the removal from stores any items colored scarlet, which is widely seen as symbolizing love. It is not unusual for the Saudi vice squad to become stricter before Valentine's Day, which it sees as encouraging relations between men and women outside of wedlock. Saudi officials said they are studying the effects of other things that fuel lust, like being awake, the vibrations of a heavy truck driving close by and the cute cashier at the gas station.
Wii

An Older Demographic May Soon Dominate Gaming 234

Reservoir Hill writes "An article from last week runs down the new mass audience for gaming among families, women and older people. The importance of the mass audience in gaming's spectacular growth is seen most clearly in the success of Nintendo's Wii, which is far outselling its more technically advanced hardware competitors, the Xbox 360 from Microsoft and PlayStation 3 from Sony. Wii Play was the No. 2-selling game of last year even though it received an abysmal score of 58 out of 100 at Metacritic, which aggregates reviews. The Times says that as video games become more popular hard-core gamers are becoming an ever smaller part of the audience. 'Paradoxically, at a moment when technology allows designers to create ever more complex and realistic single-player fantasies, the growth in the now $18 billion gaming market is in simple, user-friendly experiences that families and friends can enjoy together.'"
NASA

Submission + - Obama Education Plan Funded Through NASA Cuts

PBM writes: 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama has just released his education platform (PDF) and is calling for $18 billion in early education funding. The plan cites the importance of Sputnik for inspiring the development of strong American scientists and stresses the need for better math and science education. There's just one catch: the $18 billion is primarily funded by delaying NASA's Project Constellation (Ares launch vehicle) development for 5 years, effectively postponing US lunar colonization. Is a candidate's proposed NASA funding something that would change your vote, and could it ever affect the general election?

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