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Submission + - Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor (wired.com)

An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret that prosecutors usually throw every charge they can at an alleged criminal, but the case of Aaron Swartz brought to light how poorly-written computer abuse laws lend themselves to this practice. Now, another perfect example has resolved itself: a hacker with ties to Anonymous was recently threatened with 44 felony counts of computer fraud and cyberstalking, each with its own 10-year maximum sentence. If the charges stuck, the man was facing multiple lifetimes worth of imprisonment. But, of course, it wasn't. Prosecutors struck a deal to get him to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge, which carried only a $10,000 fine. The man's attorney, Tor Eklund, said, "The more I looked at this, the more it seemed like an archetypal example of the Department of Justice’s prosecutorial abuse when it comes to computer crime. It shows how aggressive they are, and how they seek to destroy your reputation in the press even when the charges are complete, fricking garbage."

Submission + - NYC to replace most of its payphones with free gigabit WiFi in 2015

mrspoonsi writes: NYC announced its plans: LinkNYC — a network of 10,000 gigabit WiFi hotspots that will line the streets of all five boroughs of New York City. The project will replace all but a small handful of historic payphones with "Links," small towers equipped with WiFi, an Android tablet with select city-service apps and, of course, the ability to make phone calls. What's missing? The word pay: it's all free.

Submission + - What Can I Do To "Unblock" Email From My Server, Hosted On Comcast? 2

hawkbug writes: For the past 15 years, I have hosted my own email server at home and it's been pretty painless. I had always used a local Denver ISP on a single static IP. Approximately 2 years ago, I switched to a faster connection, which now is hosted on Comcast. They provide me 5 static IPs and much faster speeds. It's a business connection with no ports blocked, etc. It has been mostly fine these last 2 years, with the occasional outage due to typical Comcast issues. About 2 weeks ago, I came across a serious issue. The following email services started rejecting all email from my server:

Hotmail
Yahoo
Gmail

I checked, and my IP is not on any real time blacklists for spammers, and I don't have any security issues. My mail server is not set as an open relay, and I use SPF records and pass all SPF tests. It appears that all 3 of those major email services started rejecting email from me based on a single condition: Comcast. I can understand the desire to limit spam — but here is the big problem: I have no way to combat this. With Gmail, I can instruct users to flag my emails as "not spam" because the emails actually go through, but simply end up in the spam folder. Yahoo and Hotmail on the other hand, just flat out reject the traffic at lower level. They send rejection notices back to my server that contain "tips" on how to make sure I'm not an open relay, causing spam, etc. Since I am NOT doing any of those things, I would expect some sort of option to have my IP white listed or verified. However, I can not find a single option to do so. The part that bugs me is that this happened 2 weeks ago with multiple major email services. Obviously, they are getting anti-spam policies from a central location of some kind. I don't know where. If I did, I could possibly go after the source and try to get my IP white listed. When I ask my other tech friends what they would do, they simply suggest changing ISPs. Nobody likes Comcast, but I don't have a choice here. I'm 2 years into a 3 year contract. So, moving is not an option.

Is there anything I can do to remedy this situation?

Submission + - Infant burials could help solve the mystery of who settled the New World (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Five years ago, Ben Potter made a dramatic discovery: the partially burned remains of a cremated 3-year-old child, left to rest in a hearth at Upward Sun River, one of the oldest settlements in Alaska. But the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, archaeologist never expected what waited underneath the hearth. More recent excavations have yielded two well-preserved burials, of an infant who likely lived for about 12 weeks and a fetus who died shortly before birth. The discovery provides a window into daily life and burial practices at the 11,500-year-old site, and an unprecedented opportunity to analyze the DNA of some of the Americas’ earliest inhabitants.

Submission + - Thousands of People Signed Up For It, But Here's The Truth About Mars One (medium.com)

superboj writes: "From everything I can find, Mars One doesn’t appear to be in any way qualified to carry off the biggest, most complex, most audacious, and most dangerous exploration mission in all of human history. They don’t have the money to do it. 200,000 people didn’t actually apply. I wouldn’t classify it exactly as a scam—but it seems to be, at best, an amazingly hubristic fantasy."

Submission + - Rap Sheets, Watchlists and Spy Networks Now Available With Single Click (nextgov.com)

schwit1 writes: Law enforcement officials nationwide now have the ability to search multiple sensitive databases, including spy agency intranets and homeland security suspicious activity reporting – with a single login.

The databases now accessible include the Homeland Security Information Network, a key exchange between state-run intelligence fusion centers and the federal government, as well as the Justice Department's Regional Information Sharing Systems, which tracks local crime and gang activity.

Also available are the intelligence community's internal networks, collectively described as "Intelink," and the FBI's Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal, the gateway to background check data, facial recognition tools and other criminal records. The four networks are each labeled sensitive but unclassified.

No mention of oversight or penalties for misuse.

Submission + - Cryogenic fracturing recovers hydrocarbons without water use (shaleforum.com)

BobandMax writes: Researchers at the Colorado School of Mines claim they have developed a method to unlock hydrocarbons trapped in shale with using any water at all. They are seeking to perfect Cryogenic fracturing, which replaces water with searing cold liquid nitrogen (or carbon dioxide). Used at temperatures below minus 321 Fahrenheit, it is pumped underground at high pressure. Once it comes into contact with the heated, pressurized shale, a reaction occurs which caused the shale to crack open and creates fissures through which the hydrocarbons can gush out. They liken it to pouring hot water onto a frozen car windshield, with the sharp and sudden temperature change causing the glass to crack.

Submission + - ReactOSinches closer to becoming true Windows XP clone and releases 0.3.17 (reactos.org)

jeditobe writes: "ReactOS is an open source operating system designed to be compatible with Windows XP (and later) apps. It’s been in development for nearly two decades (it actually predates Windows 2000 and grew out of a project called FreeWin95) and it’s still very much a work in progress.

ReactOS was most recently talked about for one of its developers coming up with an open-source AMD SI ISA compatible GPU design while the latest accomplishments from this open-source developer group has came to light.

The developers unveiled two interesting milestones this week. First, ReactOS can now read files from NTFS volumes on a hard drive. Pierre Schweitzer of ReactOS shared, "ReactOS now supports reading files from NTFS volume. This was a long awaited feature people were asking for." A new ReactOS ISO re-spin is now available containing this support.

Second, ReactOS 0.3.17 was released with an early build of NTVDM, a tool that adds support for 16-bit Windows apps for folks that want to run legacy software.

Also huge bunch of font problems was fixed making possible to run without problems Gimp, Wireshark , Java, Winrar and IntelliJ IDEA.

Submission + - Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

An anonymous reader writes: In a new paper published in Science, researchers at the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute note that "there are reasons to believe that current approaches [to discovering life] may indeed miss taxa, particularly if they are very different from those that have so far been characterized." They believe life forms exist that don't fall into the established eukaryota, archaea, or bacteria kingdoms.
They argue that there may be life out there that doesn't use the four DNA and RNA bases that we're used to; there may be life out there that has evolved completely separately from everything that we have ever known to exist; there may be life that lives in places we haven't even looked.

Submission + - 'Revolutionary' New View of Baby Planets Forming Around a Star (discovery.com) 1

astroengine writes: Welcome to HL Tauri — a star system that is just being born and the target of one of the most mind-blowing astronomical observations ever made. Observed by the powerful Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, this is the most detailed view of the proto-planetary disk surrounding a young star 450 light-years away. And those concentric rings cutting through the glowing gas and dust? Those, my friends, are tracks etched out by planets being spawned inside the disk. In short, this is the mother of all embryonic star system ultrasounds. But this dazzling new observation is so much more — it’s a portal into our solar system’s past, showing us what our system of planets around a young sun may have looked like over 4 billion years ago. And this is awesome, because it proves that our theoretical understanding about the evolution of planetary systems is correct. However, there are some surprises. “When we first saw this image we were astounded at the spectacular level of detail,” said Catherine Vlahakis, ALMA Deputy Program Scientist. “HL Tauri is no more than a million years old, yet already its disc appears to be full of forming planets. This one image alone will revolutionize theories of planet formation.”

Submission + - Real Net Neutrality Problem - Edge Provider vs End User 1

An anonymous reader writes: At the Washington Post, Brett Frischmann elaborates on the theory that the continuing flaw with the FCC's Net-Neutrality strategy lies in the perverse distinction between "End User" and "Edge Provider". Succinctly,

The key to an open Internet is nondiscrimination and in particular, a prohibition on discrimination or prioritization based on the identity of the user (sender/receiver) or use (application/content).

and then

Who exactly are the end users that are not edge providers? In other words, who uses the Internet but does not provide any content, application, or service? The answer is no one. All end users provide content as they engage in communications with other end users, individually or collectively.
...
Think of all the startups and small businesses run from people’s homes on home Internet connections, using WordPress tools or Amazon hosting services. Are they “end users” when they email their friends but “edge providers” when they switch windows to check their business metrics?

Submission + - Washington Post Says Marijuana Legalization is Making the World a Better Place 3

HughPickens.com writes: Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post that many countries are taking a close look at what's happening in Colorado and Washington state to learn lessons that can be applied to their own situations and so far, the news coming out of Colorado and Washington is overwhelmingly positive. Dire consequences predicted by reform opponents have failed to materialize. If anything, societal and economic indicators are moving in a positive direction post-legalization. Colorado marijuana tax revenues for fiscal year 2014-2015 are on track to surpass projections.

Lisa Sanchez, a program manager at México Unido Contra la Delincuencia, a Mexican non-profit devoted to promoting "security, legality and justice," underscored how legalization efforts in the U.S. are having powerful ripple effects across the globe: events in Colorado and Washington have "created political space for Latin American countries to have a real debate [about drug policy]." She noted that motivations for reform in Latin America are somewhat different than U.S. motivations — one main driver is a need to address the epidemic of violence on those countries that is fueled directly by prohibitionist drug war policies. Mexico's president has given signs he's open to changes in that country's marijuana laws to help combat cartel violence. Sandeep Chawla, former deputy director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, notes that one of the main obstacles to meaningful reform is layers of entrenched drug control bureaucracies at the international and national levels — just in the U.S., think of the DEA, ONDCP and NIDA, among others — for whom a relaxation of drug control laws represents an undermining of their reason for existence: "if you create a bureaucracy to solve a particular problem, when the problem is solved that bureaucracy is out of a job."

Submission + - Is Mars One ready to colonize the Red Planet? (mit.edu)

NotSanguine writes: A non-profit organization called Mars One announced in 2012 its mission to colonize Mars using existing technologies. Last month, a group with from MIT published a paper which claims that current technologies are insufficient to support humans on Mars for extended periods.

According to Andrew Owens, one of the paper's authors:

It's not that Mars colonization is unfeasible; it is just that technology development will be required to make it feasible.


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