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Submission + - Rand Paul Starts New Drone War In Congress (thehill.com)

SonicSpike writes: Rand Paul has warned Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that he will place a hold on one of President Obama’s appellate court nominees because of his role in crafting the legal basis for Obama’s drone policy.

Paul, the junior Republican senator from Kentucky, has informed Reid he will object to David Barron’s nomination to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals unless the Justice Department makes public the memos he authored justifying the killing of an American citizen in Yemen.

The American Civil Liberties Union supports Paul’s objection, giving some Democratic lawmakers extra incentive to support a delay to Barron’s nomination, which could come to the floor in the next two weeks.

Barron, formerly a lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, penned at least one secret legal memo approving the Sept. 2011 drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric whom intelligence officials accused of planning terrorist attacks against the United States.

The attack also killed another American citizen, Samir Khan, the creator of an online magazine catering to jihadists.

Paul says Justice must show Baron’s memo before he will consider lifting the hold.

Submission + - Students Remember Lectures Better Taking Notes Longhand Than Using Laptops

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Walk into any university lecture hall and you're likely to see row upon row of students sitting behind glowing laptop screens. Laptops in class have been controversial, due mostly to the many opportunities for distraction that they provide (online shopping, browsing Reddit, or playing solitaire, just to name a few). But few studies have examined how effective laptops are for the students who diligently take notes. Now Robinson Meyer writes at The Atlantic that a new study finds that people remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes, rather than typed ones. The research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. "Our new findings suggest that even when laptops are used as intended — and not for buying things on Amazon during class — they may still be harming academic performance," says psychological scientist Pam Mueller of Princeton University, lead author of the study. Laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning. If you can type quickly enough, word-for-word transcription is possible, whereas writing by hand usually rules out capturing every word. “We don’t write longhand as fast as we type these days, but people who were typing just tended to transcribe large parts of lecture content verbatim,” says Mueller. “The people who were taking notes on the laptops don’t have to be judicious in what they write down.”

Submission + - What can the NSA learn from your phone metadata? There's an app for that.

An anonymous reader writes: Last month researchers at Stanford kicked off MetaPhone, a crowdsourced study of phone metadata. They've since reported that phone activity reveals private relationships, is densely interconnected at just two or three "hops", and can trivially be identified. But now you can see for yourself: an updated version of the Android app will show you how many users you're connected to, as well as the businesses you've been in touch with. It's downright spooky.

Submission + - Online Banking Users Be Warned (seculert.com)

Shevook6 writes: New variant of Sazoora, a malware that injects fraudulent HTML code into web pages stealing credit card information and sensitive financial data, has emerged. Sazoora.B is harder for traditional security solutions to detect as it made to avoid on-premises sandboxes. Sazoora.B has already struck, between September 26 and October 20, it infected over 23,000 machines.

Submission + - Police Departments Work to Expand Capability to "Shut Down" Social Media (wordpress.com)

schwit1 writes: Workshops held by and for top police executives from throughout the world and widely available from vendors, were technologies and department policies that allow agencies to block content, users, and even devices – for example, “Geofencing” software that allows departments to block service to a specified device when the device leaves an established virtual geographic perimeter. The capability is a basic function of advanced mobile technologies like smartphones, “OnStar” type features that link drivers through GIS to central assistance centers, and automated infrastructure and other hardware including unmanned aerial systems that must “sense and respond.”

A senior police officer from the Chicago PD told a panel on Monday that his department was working with Facebook’s security chief to block users’ from the site by account (person), IP, and device (he did not say if by UUID or MAC address or other means of hardware ID) if it is determined they have posted what is deemed criminal content.

Submission + - Japan refused to help NSA tap Asia's Internet (japantimes.co.jp)

An anonymous reader writes: The NSA sought the Japanese government’s cooperation to wiretap fiber-optic cables carrying phone and data across the Asia-Pacific region but the request was rejected. The NSA wanted to intercept personal information including Internet activity and phone calls passing through Japan from Asia including China. The Japanese government refused because it was illegal and would need to involve a massive number of private sector workers. Article 35 of the Japanese Constitution protects against illegal search and seizure.

Submission + - Drug Site Silk Road Says It Will Survive Bitcoin's Volatility (forbes.com)

Sparrowvsrevolution writes: Bitcoin's recent spike and then collapse in value has convinced many that it's too unstable to use as a practical currency. But not the founder of Silk Road, the black market drug site that exclusively accepts Bitcoin in exchange for heroin, cocaine and practically every other drug imaginable. Silk Road's creator, who calls himself the Dread Pirate Roberts, broke his usual media silence to issue a short statement that Silk Road will survive Bitcoin's bubble and bust. The market's prices are generally pegged to the dollar, with prices in Bitcoin fluctuating to account for movements in the exchange rate. And Roberts explained that vendors on the site have the option to also hedge the Bitcoins that buyers place in escrow for their products, so that they can't lose money due to Bitcoin's volatility while the drugs are in the mail. As a result, only about 1,000 of the site's more than 11,000 product listings were taken down during the recent crash.

Submission + - There'll Be No War, N.Korea Assures Chinese Tourists (chosun.com)

An anonymous reader writes: All of the war talk may be pre-planned for those who might destroy the grocery stores for wonder bread and duct tape: Calm your 'fits'.

Visiting Xian in Shaanxi Province in mid-March, Kim To-jun of the North's General Bureau of Tourism, told Chinese tour operators, "Don't worry. There'll be no war on the Korean Peninsula, so send as many tourists as possible."

Math

Submission + - BayesianBracket 2013: A Bayesian March Madness Analysis (biophysengr.net)

SocratesJedi writes: "Last year, I wrote about the fun I was having using graph theory to predict NCAA tournament outcomes. This year, I instead modeled both the game outcome predictor and the entire tournament in the framework of Bayesian statistics. In addition to each team’s Win-Loss record, individual player statistics were also used as part of the predictor. Validation on a random sample of 200 regular-season games suggests about 75% per-game accuracy. Interestingly, Bayesian analysis suggests that the most likely tournament outcome isn’t necessarily the best bracket choice, if prediction of later rounds are preferentially weighted during scoring.

To do all of this, I used GeNIe and SMILE, two user-friendly, open-source Bayesian statistics packages that might be of interest to some Slashdotters.

[Disclosure: I am NOT affiliated with GeNIe or SMILE in any way; I just thought they were useful!]."

Your Rights Online

Submission + - First sale defeats parallel imports at SCOTUS (patentlyo.com)

MickLinux writes: It appears that either maximum profits will be limited, or that publishers and mnufacturers will have to find another way to prevent parallel imports. But the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that items legally purchased abroad may be resold in the US under first sale doctrine, without a violation of copyright.
HP

Submission + - HP Back in Tablet Game with $169 Slate7

theodp writes: You know the old adage, 'Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me?' Still, even if you got bit by the HP TouchPad debacle, HP's newly-announced $169 Slate7 tablet could prove hard to resist. Specs-wise, the Slate7 sports an ARM Dual Core Cortex-A9 1.6 GHz processor, 7-inch 1024x600 HFFS screen, Android 4.1 (Jellybean), three-megapixel camera on the back, front-facing VGA camera, 8GB of on-board storage, HP ePrint, Beats Audio, and a micro SD expandable card slot. It measures 10.7mm x 197mm x 116mm thin, and weighs in at 13-ounces. It will be available in the US in April via HPDirect.com. Engadget has some pics and their initial hands-on take.
Security

Submission + - Could the Election of the New Pope be Hacked? 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The rules for papal elections are steeped in tradition. John Paul II last codified them in 1996, and Benedict XVI left the rules largely untouched. The "Universi Dominici Gregis on the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff" is surprisingly detailed. Now as the College of Cardinals prepares to elect a new pope, security people like Bruce Schneier wonder about the process. How does it work, and just how hard would it be to hack the vote? First, the system is entirely manual, making it immune to the sorts of technological attacks that make modern voting systems so risky. Second, the small group of voters — all of whom know each other — makes it impossible for an outsider to affect the voting in any way. The chapel is cleared and locked before voting. No one is going to dress up as a cardinal and sneak into the Sistine Chapel. In short, the voter verification process is about as good as you're ever going to find. A cardinal can't stuff ballots when he votes. Then the complicated paten-and-chalice ritual ensures that each cardinal votes once — his ballot is visible — and also keeps his hand out of the chalice holding the other votes. Ballots from previous votes are burned, which makes it harder to use one to stuff the ballot box. What are the lessons here? First, open systems conducted within a known group make voting fraud much harder. Every step of the election process is observed by everyone, and everyone knows everyone, which makes it harder for someone to get away with anything. Second, small and simple elections are easier to secure. This kind of process works to elect a pope or a club president, but quickly becomes unwieldy for a large-scale election. And third: When an election process is left to develop over the course of a couple of thousand years, you end up with something surprisingly good."

Submission + - Tired of Google Play? Check out these alternative Android app stores (driessenpost.com)

An anonymous reader writes: If you are hunting for more sources to download Android apps and games then you’ll find a bumper batch in here. We take a look at the pros and cons of alternative Android app stores for users and developers, and then discuss a few of the best options.

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