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Submission + - Hacker spoofs track plays to top music charts (

mask.of.sanity writes: Stand aside P!nk, Niki Minaj; you've just been beaten by a music generator. One Aussie security expert curious about the fraud mechanisms at play on streaming services like Spotify uploaded garbage music tracks and directed three Amazon virtual machines to click the play button 24/7 for a month, earning him top spot in online music charts and $1000 in royalties.

Submission + - Artificial blood made in Romania ( 3

calinduca writes: Artificial blood that could one day be used in humans without side effects has been created by scientists in Romania. The blood contains water and salts along with a protein known as hemerythrin which is extracted from sea worms. Researchers from Babe-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, hope it could help end blood supply shortages and prevent infections through donations.

Submission + - Stiff Resistance to State Technology Taxes (

SonicSpike writes: As the nation moves from a tangible goods-based economy to a service-based economy, a few states are trying to keep revenues robust by taxing technological services such as software upgrades and cloud computing. But a backlash from the high-tech industry has quashed most efforts.

As a result, the U.S. has a patchwork quilt of state taxes on technological services. Some states that have tried to impose such taxes have failed spectacularly, and most have not tried at all.

According to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank that studies taxes, only 10 states (Connecticut, New Mexico, Hawaii, South Dakota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia tax all writing or updating of software. Only New Mexico, Hawaii and South Dakota levy their general sales taxes on all software services.

States with sales taxes do, however, levy those taxes on software that is sold on CDs or other hard storage materials. About half the states also tax “canned” (non-altered) software that can be downloaded, according to the Tax Foundation.

Elia Peterson, an analyst with the foundation, said in a recent paper that states are reluctant to tax computer services in large part because it “is an especially mobile industry and could easily move to a lower tax state.”

Submission + - Doomed Earth-sized planet a big mystery but a star is in its future (

coondoggie writes: newly discovered Earth-like exoplanet is likely covered in lava and really shouldn't exist — and it won't in its current form very much longer astronomers say. Known as Kepler-78B, the planet is a mystery to astronomers who say its tight orbit around its star — it circles the star every eight and a half hours at a distance of less than one million miles — combined with its intense heat will likely end in a burst of energy.

Feed Techdirt: Keith Alexander, On Stage While Story Of NSA Infiltrations Breaks, Tries To Misl (

In an interesting bit of timing, just as the Washington Post was breaking the news that the NSA had infiltrated Google and Yahoo's cloud data by hacking into the (stupidly) unencrypted data links between data centers, it turned out that NSA boss Keith Alexander was on stage at a Bloomberg Government Cybersecurity conference. He was asked about the report, and he tried to tap dance around it by claiming the NSA doesn't have access to Yahoo and Google's servers . The Guardian has a brief summary:

Alexander, asked about the Post report, denied it. Not to my knowledge, thats never happened, the NSA director said, before reiterating an earlier denial Prism gave the NSA direct access to the servers of its internet service provider partners.

Everything we do with those companies that work with us, they are compelled to work with us, Alexander said. These are specific requirements that come from a court order. This is not the NSA breaking into any databases. It would be illegal for us to do that. So I dont know what the report is, but I can tell you factually: we do not have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers, dot-dot-dot. We go through a court order.
But, of course, in typical Alexander fashion, he's choosing his words carefully -- and thankfully people can more easily see through it at this point, since they're getting so used to it. The report didn't say they were accessing those companies' servers or databases, but rather hacking into the network connection between their data centers. That's like a report breaking of the NSA hijacking armored cars with cash, and Alexander claiming "we didn't break into the bank." Nice try.

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Submission + - Microsoft Research Uses Kinect To Translate Between Spoken And Sign Languages

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft’s Kinect is a wonderful piece of technology that seems to know no bounds. Microsoft Research is now using it to bridge the gap between folks who don’t speak the same language, whether they can hear or not. The Kinect Sign Language Translator is a research prototype that can translate sign language into spoken language and vice versa. The best part? It does it all in real time.

Submission + - AMD updates its drivers Catalyst 13.11 Beta (

An anonymous reader writes: AMD recently posted a first set of drivers especially designed to support its new Radeon R7 and R9. Today, it is updated to support the R9 290 and 290X, and provide some performance gains.

Submission + - Nebraska scientists refuse to carry out climate change-denying study (

Lasrick writes: This is great: State researchers say they refuse to be used as political pawns: 'The problem, according to members of the governor-appointed Climate Assessment and Response Committee, is that the bill behind the study specifically calls for the researchers to look at “cyclical” climate change. In so doing, it completely leaves out human contributions to global warming.'

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