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Submission + - YouTube goes 4K at CES along with VP9 (muktware.com)

sfcrazy writes: YouTube will demonstrate 4K videos at the upcoming CES. That’s not the best news, the best part of this story is that Google will do it using it’s own open sourced VP9 technology. Google acquired the technology from O2 and open sourced it. Google started offering the codec on royalty free basis to vendors to boost adoption. Google has also learned the hardware partnership game and has already roped in hardware partners to use and showcase VP9 at CES. According to reports LG (the latest Nexus maker), Panasonic and Sony will be demonstrating 4K YouTube using VP9 at the event. Google today announced that all leading hardware vendors will start supporting the royalty-free VP9 codecs. These hardware vendors include major names like ARM, Broadcom, Intel, LG, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, Panasonic, Philips, Qualcomm, RealTek, Samsung, Sigma, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba.

Submission + - The New York Times Pushes for Clemency for Snowden

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: The Editorial Board of the New York Times has weighed in on the criminal charges facing Edward Snowden and writes that "Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight." "He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community." The president said in August that Snowden should come home to face charges in court and suggested that if Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower. In fact, notes the editorial board, the executive order regarding whistleblowers did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Snowden. More important, Snowden told The Washington Post that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the NSA, and that they took no action. "Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not." "When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government," concludes the editorial. "President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home."

Submission + - US Customs destroys Virtuoso's Flutes because they were "agricultural items" (bostonglobe.com) 2

McGruber writes: Flute virtuoso Boujemaa Razgui performed on a variety of flutes of varying ethnicity, each made by himself over years for specific types of ancient and modern performance. Razgui has performed with many US ensembles and is a regular guest with the diverse and enterprising Boston Camerata (http://www.bostoncamerata.com/index.html).

Last week, Razgui flew from Morocco to Boston, with stops in Madrid and New York. In New York, he says, a US Customs official opened his luggage and found the 13 flutelike instruments — 11 nays and two kawalas. Razgui says he had made all of the instruments using hard-to-find reeds. “They said this is an agriculture item,” said Razgui, who was not present when his bag was opened. “I fly with them in and out all the time and this is the first time there has been a problem. This is my life.” When his baggage arrived in Boston, the instruments were gone. He was instead given a number to call. “They told me they were destroyed,” he says. “Nobody talked to me. They said I have to write a letter to the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. This is horrible. I don’t know what to do. I’ve never written letters to people.” (http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/names/2014/01/01/customs-officials-destroys-flute-virtuoso-instruments/HRnFgh1FwIqY5n2FdoKlMN/story.html)

Novelist Norman Lebrecht was the first to report the story. One ensemble director told him that 'I can’t think of an uglier, stupider thing for the U.S. government to do than to deprive this man of the tools of his art and a big piece of his livelihood.’ (http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2013/12/outrage-at-jfk-as-customs-men-smash-flutes.html)

Submission + - Increasing Number of Books Banned in the USA (npr.org)

vikingpower writes: Isabel Allende's The House of The Spirits. Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man.

What do all these titles have in common with each other ? Exactly, they are banned somewhere, on some school, in the USA. . Yes, in 2013. A project named The Kids' Right to Read ( by the National Coalition Against Censorship ) investigated three times the average number of incidents, adding to an overall rise in cases for the entire year, according to KRRP coordinator Acacia O'Connor. To date, KRRP has confronted 49 incidents in 29 states this year, a 53% increase in activity from 2012. During the second half of 2013, the project battled 31 new incidents, compared to only 14 in the same period last year.

"It has been a sprint since the beginning of the school year," O'Connor said. "We would settle one issue and wake up the next morning to find out another book was on the chopping block."

The NCAC also offers a Book Censorship Toolkit on its website. If such a toolkit is needed at all, does this indicate that intellectual freedom and free speech are ( slowly ) eroding in the USA ?

Submission + - Hackers take down Online Games and get Streamer's House Raided (twitter.com) 1

GnetworkGnome writes: Monday evening, 30 December 2013, hackers reporting from the Twitter account @DerpTrolling began following one of the most prolific video game streamers, PhantomL0rd, and started taking down Online video game servers on which he was playing. At its highest point, nearly 150,000 viewers watched the streamer, after League of Legends, DoTA2, and other games were interrupted. The hackers even posted the personal information of PhantomL0rd, then called the police to inform them that five hostages were being held at his residence. Police arrested the streamer as he emerged from his house for questioning.

Hours later, PhantomL0rd returned to an audience of nearly 100,000 viewers to explain what had happened. @DerpTrolling tweeted "@PhantomL0rd Glad you're back and okay." to the streamer upon news that he had been returned home. Nothing on the methods of the hackers has been confirmed, but massive DDOS attacks were believed to be their attack of choice against video game servers and more.

Submission + - When Slashdot Beta goes mainstream, where will you go? 5

EzInKy writes: I'm sure most of you have checked it out, and am just as sure most of you don't like what they are plan to force upon us. So my question is, where do you plan on getting your Slashdot fix once the beta becomes the default? I know I'm trying to learn CSS so I can undo the damage they are inflicting.

Submission + - Who's Selling Credit Cards from Target? (krebsonsecurity.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Brian Krebs does some detective work to determine who is behind the recent Target credit card hack. Krebs sifted through posts from a series of shady forums, some dating back to 2008, to determine the likely real-life identity of one fraudster. He even turns down a $10,000 bribe offer to keep the information under wraps.

Submission + - In Air Display and Interface Technology: A Big Step Forward (cnn.com)

wjcofkc writes: Interactive displays projected into the air in the spirit of Iron Man have been heralded as the next step in visual technology. Yet many obstacles remain. According to Russian designer Max Kamanin, creator of Displair, many the problems have now been largely cracked.

With this attempt at refining the technology, the image is created inside a layer of dry fog which is composed of ultra-fine water droplets so small they lack moisture. Three-dimensional projections are then created using infrared sensors. The projected screen currently responds intuitively to 1,500 hand movements, many of which are similar to those used on mobile devices, such as pinch and zoom. The most immediate applications include advertising and medicine, with the latter offering a more hygienic alternative to touchscreens.

The most immediate objection from home and office computer users is that they don't want to be waving their hands around all day, and while such questions as "What happens when I turn on a fan?" are not answered here, just imagine a future with a projected keyboard and trackpad that use puff-air haptic feedback with the option of reaching right into the screen whenever it applies to the application at hand — and applications that take advantage of such a technology would no doubt come along. Better yet, imagine for yourself in the comments. As always, pictures speak a thousand words, so don't neglect the articles gallery.

Submission + - Overstock.com plans to become first big online retailer to accept Bitcoin (cnbc.com)

SonicSpike writes: Overstock plans to become the first big U.S. online retailer to accept Bitcoin, as Patrick Byrne, the company's libertarian chief executive, warms to the virtual currency as a refuge from government control.

Mr Byrne told the Financial Times that Overstock planned to start accepting Bitcoin next year – possibly by the end of the second quarter – a decision that he said was driven mainly by his own political philosophy.

"I think a healthy monetary system at the end of the day isn't an upside down pyramid based on the whim of a government official, but is based on something that they can't control," Mr Byrne said.

Submission + - Cubli – A cube that can jump up, balance, and walk across your desk (robohub.org)

rminsk writes: The Cubli is a 15 × 15 × 15 cm cube that can jump up and balance on its corner. Reaction wheels mounted on three faces of the cube rotate at high angular velocities and then brake suddenly, causing the Cubli to jump up. Once the Cubli has almost reached the corner stand up position, controlled motor torques are applied to make it balance on its corner. In addition to balancing, the motor torques can also be used to achieve a controlled fall such that the Cubli can be commanded to fall in any arbitrary direction. Combining these three abilities — jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling — the Cubli is able to 'walk'.

Submission + - Scientists Crack Major Aids Mystery

mrspoonsi writes: Business Insider Reports: The difference between HIV infection and full-blown AIDS is, in large part, the massive die-off of the immune system's CD4 T-cells. But researchers have only observed the virus killing a small portion of those cells, leading to a longstanding question: What makes the other cells disappear? New research shows that the body is killing its own cells in a little-known process. What's more, an existing, safe drug could interrupt that self-destruction, thereby offering a way to treat AIDS. The destructive process has caught scientists by surprise. "We thought HIV infects a cell, sets up a virus production factory and then the cell dies as a consequence of being overwhelmed by virus. But there are not enough factories to explain the massive losses," says Warner Greene, director of virology and immunology at the Gladstone Institutes, whose team published two papers today in Science and Nature describing the work. Greene estimates 95 percent of the cells that die in HIV infections are killed through pyroptosis, so the findings raise hope for a new type of treatment that could prevent HIV from progressing into AIDS. "Inhibiting activation of the immune system is not a new concept, but this gives us a new pathway to target," says Robert Gallo. And in fact, a drug already exists that can block pyroptosis. Known as VX-765, it was tested years ago by Vertex Pharmaceuticals as a treatment for chronic seizure disorder. A trial showed that it wasn't effective enough against seizures, but it was safe for humans. "Now it's just sitting on a shelf waiting for a disease to cure," says Greene, who is trying to arrange a phase II trial to test the drug in HIV patients."

Submission + - DHS Turns to Unpaid Interns for Nation's Cyber Security

theodp writes: A week after President Obama stressed the importance of computer science to America, the Department of Homeland Security put out a call for 100+ of the nations' best-and-brightest college students to work for nothing on the nation's cyber security. The unpaid internship program, DHS notes, is the realization of recommendations from the Homeland Security Advisory Council's Task Force on CyberSkills, which included execs from Facebook, Lockheed Martin, and Sony, and was advised by representatives from Cisco, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Northrop Grumman, the NSF, and the NSA. "Do you desire to protect American interests and secure our Nation while building a meaningful and rewarding career?" reads the job posting for Secretary's Honors Program Cyber Student Volunteers (salary: $0.00-$0.00). "If so, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is calling." Student volunteers, DHS adds, will begin in spring 2014 and participate throughout the summer. Get your applications in by January 3, kids!

Submission + - NSA Metadata Program Has Stopped Zero Attacks (nbcnews.com)

Antipater writes: According to a member of the White House panel that recently called for the NSA's metadata-collection program to be curtailed, that program has not stopped any terrorist actions at all. This runs counter to the stories we've heard for months, which claimed as many as fifty prevented attacks.

"Stone declined to comment on the accuracy of public statements by U.S. intelligence officials about the telephone collection program, but said that when they referred to successes they seemed to be mixing the results of domestic metadata collection with the intelligence derived from the separate, and less controversial, NSA program, known as 702, to intercept communications overseas."

Submission + - When devices update - bandwith quota sucked dry 1

wallydallas writes: I'm close to a solution, but I wonder how other people block their many devices and operating systems from updating in working hours?

For example:

I'm the IT guy who blocks ipads from updating when school is in session because we are in a rural location. 3mbps is the best WAN we can buy. Devices can update after hours just fine. We do this with our router (DDWRT) by blocking MESU.APPLE.COM

Many guests bring in Windows 7 laptops, and I want to welcome them, but not their updates.

How can I block updates on Android Phones and Linux Laptops?

I have a 4G device at home, and I'd like to apply the same tricks 24 hours a day so that I don't use up the bandwith from my vendor. And my many home visitors should have their updates blocked.

Thanks, Wally

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