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Submission + - Ex-Napster COO Fatally Struck by Sheriff's Patrol Car While Biking (latimes.com)

Frosty Piss writes: Milton Everett Olin Jr. of Woodland Hills, was struck and killed by a sheriff's patrol car just after 1 p.m. Sunday while riding a bike in the bike lane of Mulholland Highway in Calabasas, he was 65. In addition to serving as a top executive for the file-sharing website Napster Inc., Olin was a prominent entertainment attorney for Altschul & Olin LLP, which he co-founded, and had been practicing law since 1975, according to court documents and the State Bar of California.

Submission + - TSA cancels $60 million Rapiscan contract; Congress to increase TSA Tax anyway (bloomberg.com)

McGruber writes: Bloomberg has the news that the US General Accounting Office (GAO) has forced the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to cancel a contract for carry-on baggage screening equipment (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-06/naked-scanner-maker-osi-systems-falls-on-losing-tsa-order.html). The contract had been awarded to Rapiscan, a unit of OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS), less than three months after the TSA nearly barred the company from future contracts, over how Rapiscan handled software fixes for body-scanning machines known as "naked scanners”.

Another contractor protested the award of the baggage screening contract to OSIS/Rapiscan. The protesting firm pointed out that OSI’s Rapiscan unit planned to make the machines in Malaysia in violation of federal rules and was using outdated technology that might miss dangerous objects and trigger false alarms.

Two House committees said in a report last year that the TSA spent $184 million on Rapiscan scanners that are now stored in a warehouse instead of being deployed at airports. The agency was spending $3.5 million a year to lease and manage the warehouse, the committees said.

Sadly, not even Congress reads reports produced by house committees, as demonstrated by this Businessweek report (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-12-03/tsa-passenger-fee-increase-proposal-spurs-airlines-to-lobby-2) that Congress is posed to increase the TSA Tax: "Eager to find new revenues to fend off automatic spending cuts next month, Republicans are embracing an increase to the so-called Sept. 11 security fee on U.S. airline tickets they’ve long resisted. Eager to find new revenues to fend off automatic spending cuts next month, Republicans are embracing an increase to the so-called Sept. 11 security fee on U.S. airline tickets they’ve long resisted. It’s one of the few money-raisers that has bipartisan support in budget negotiations, even as its surprise emergence mobilized resistance from airlines in the U.S. and abroad, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Consumer Travel Alliance."

Submission + - Japan: state secrets are whatever we say they are and you don't need to know. (sciencemag.org) 1

kermidge writes: "Japanese scientists and academics are warning that legislation threatening prison terms for those who divulge and publish what the government deems a state secret threatens academic freedom and the public’s right to know."

Seems that what constitutes a state secret is not clearly defined, but punishments for divulging one are: 10 years in prison for government employees; 5 for journalists.

This new law, which sailed through the lower house of the Diet on 26 November and is expected to pass the upper house on 8 December, was fast-tracked, apparently in a bid to avoid much in the way of discussion, especially as about the only ones in favor of it are the ruling party.

This law is similar to provisions to be subscribed by all of the 12 initial members of the upcoming TPP, which is also to be fast-tracked by Congress. Slashdotters from the U.S. and abroad will likely recognize similar laws, or proposed laws, in their own countries.

Submission + - LG TVs phone home with your viewing habits

psychonaut writes: Blogger DoctorBeet discovered that his new LG television was surreptitiously sending information about his TV viewing habits, as well as the names of the files he watched on removable media, to LG's servers. There is an undocumented setting in the TV configuration which supposedly disables this behaviour, but an inspection of the network traffic between the TV and the Internet showed that the TV continues to send the data whether or not the setting is disabled.

DoctorBeet contacted LG, but they shrugged the matter off, saying that it's a matter between him and the retailer he bought the TV from.

Submission + - Windows 8 Blue likely to restore the Start button (arstechnica.com)

plastick writes: ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley is now reporting that the upcoming Windows Blue, also known as Windows 8.1, may be backtracking on some of these user interface decisions. According to her sources, the update may restore the Start button to the Windows desktop, as well as give users the ability to bypass the Start screen entirely at boot.

Submission + - Windows 8.1 to boot to desktop (theverge.com) 3

geekoid writes: According to the Verge, Windows 8.1 will have an option to boot directly to the desktop. In light of recent reporting about the general distaste and design flaws of windows 8 user interface, will MS's updates be dynamic enough to stop the current MS Exodus?

Submission + - 19 yr hacker reveals how the results of a state election in Brazil was altered (google.com)

Bruno Cassol writes: "Accompanied by an expert in data transmission and a police chief, a young 19 year old hacker showed how — through illegal and privileged access to the intranet used to transfer election results — intercepted data and modified results benefiting candidates over others. All without anything being officially detected."
The Military

Submission + - Why Iron Dome Might Only Work For Israel (thediplomat.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Many this week have declared Israel's American financed Iron Dome rocket defense system a success. Some have even gone so far to declare it a vindication of Ronald Reagen's 1980's Star Wars missile defense system. Pundits have even gone so far to assume the system could be sold to other nations. However, the Iron Dome may not be the game changer many are making it out to be.

Taking out unsophisticated rockets is quite different than advanced missiles: "...the technical and strategic challenges of shooting down ballistic missiles differ considerably from those of shooting down unguided rockets. BMD shares with rocket defense some common technological ground; both require fast reaction time and impressive sensor capabilities, and the Iron Dome project has benefited from technical work on missile defense. However, ballistic missiles in flight behave differently from unguided, sub-atmospheric rockets."


Submission + - LA Metro to Harvest Energy From Subway Trains (vyconenergy.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Today the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded VYCON Energy with a $3.6 million contract to install a flywheel energy recovery system at the Red Line Westlake/MacArthur Park subway station. The system will harness kinetic energy from braking trains then use the stored energy to help trains accelerate.

Submission + - Valve: Linux has everything they need (ubuntuvibes.com)

dartttt writes: In a presentation at Ubuntu Developer Summit currently going on in Denmark, Drew Bliss from Valve said that Linux is more viable than Windows 8 for gaming. Windows 8 ships with its own app store and it is not an open platform anymore and Linux has everything they need: good OpenGL, pulseaudio, OpenAL and input support.

Submission + - NASA Unveils Passenger Plane Designs for 2025 (inhabitat.com) 2

baosol writes: Recently, NASA asked the three largest companies in the US to come up with a design that would create a full-functioning plane by the year 2025 that would not only use significantly less fuel, but be cleaner and quieter and be able to haul ass. To our surprise, the designs they received from the trio were not only radical, but also a little bit retro.
PC Games (Games)

Top Final Fantasy XIV Devs Replaced, PS3 Version Delayed 89

After Final Fantasy XIV's troubled launch and subsequent attempt to placate angry fans, Square Enix has decided that the game's leadership needs to be replaced. They've asked players to patiently stick around until they're ready to unveil their new plans for the game, extending the free trial period to compensate. Square also announced bad news for PS3 owners who were still somehow interested in the game: "Regarding the PlayStation 3, it is not our wish to release a simple conversion of the Windows version in its current state, but rather an update that includes all the improvements we have planned. For that reason, we have made the difficult decision to delay the release of the PlayStation 3 version beyond the originally announced date of March 2011."

TSA Pats Down 3-Year-Old 1135

3-year-old Mandy Simon started crying when her teddy bear had to go through the X-ray machine at airport security in Chattanooga, Tenn. She was so upset that she refused to go calmly through the metal detector, setting it off twice. Agents then informed her parents that she "must be hand-searched." The subsequent TSA employee pat down of the screaming child was captured by her father, who happens to be a reporter, on his cell phone. The video have left some questioning why better procedures for children aren't in place. I, for one, feel much safer knowing the TSA is protecting us from impressionable minds warped by too much Dora the Explorer.

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