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Submission + - a little .mac security flaw

deleuth writes: "The de facto online connectivity software sold along with many Apple computers, .Mac, has a web interface through which users can check their "iDisk" whilst away from their own computer. However, there is no Log-Out button in this web interface, so most users just close the browser and walk away...not realizing that their iDisk has been cached by the browser and that anyone who wants to can open up the browser, go back to the link in History, and get into their iDisk completely logged in. From here, files can be downloaded and/or deleted. This seems like a minor security flaw via bad interface design, and podcaster Klaatu (of posted this on the site, only to have his post removed by Apple. Furthermore, feedback at has gone unanswered. The problem remains: there is NO way for the average computer user to log-out of their iDisk on public computers! The format of the link that will get you into an iDisk is this: So a quick review of any public terminal's browser history could bring up all kinds of interesting things."

Submission + - Top ten scientific discoveries of 2007 ( 2

Josh Fink writes: "Time Magazine has a piece about the top 10 scientific discoveries of 2007. While most of the items in the top ten are interesting, I do not know if they hold much value as the best top ten to pick from what has been discovered this year. Items such as "Kryptonite", stem cell research and the brighten supernova on file made it to the list though. Check out the editorial here. Also included in the top 10 editorial are pieces on the top 10 medical breakthroughs, the top 10 man made disasters and the top 10 green "ideas"."

Submission + - Desktop synchrotron freezes molecular action

An anonymous reader writes: Most sources of synchrotron radiation are giant dough nut-shaped particle accelerators. But researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland have developed a compact synchrotron machine that could fit inside any lab. Instead of a giant ring of magnets and microwave cavities, the device uses plasma wakefield acceleration to accelerate electrons. Synchrotron radiation can be used to probe many kinds of matter and is used in many areas of scientific research.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - US Consumerism Poses Global Recession Threat (

Horar writes: "From the article: One of the world's leading economists has issued a scathing denunciation of American consumerism, saying overspending could lead to a "catastrophic" recession... He says the United States has a current account deficit of $US811 billion for last year, which means America is borrowing [more than two] billion a day from overseas.

What are the implications of this for the IT industry if there is such a recession? Alternatively, what would happen if rampant consumerism is brought under control? Isn't it that very consumerism that pushes the development of the devices and technologies which most slashdotters could not live without?"


Submission + - Your camera-raw images unreadable in future? 1

MessyBlob writes: "Given the recent renewed interest in open file formats for Office applications, perhaps we could apply the same scrutiny to closed camera-raw file formats?

This subject has many facets. Nevertheless, I'll attempt a concise summary here: There are hundreds of proprietary file formats for camera raw images, but very few are openly documented. It is very easy for a camera manufacturer to stop supporting a format. Users of old cameras can lose access to their raw images, as software developers also drop support. It is difficult for software developers to write libraries to read and write undocumented formats. Some data is deliberately encrypted (e.g. Nikon colour data) to give proprietary vendors a competitive advantage. Scientific and historic organisations can not trust proprietary raw formats for fear of losing the ability to read the archives in future. Digital raw photographers are not afforded the same rights to their original image as film photographers. Adobe's DNG has some answers, but not all of them. Open documentation gives developers a chance to write encoders and decoders. A common file format would give developers a better chance of supporting all compliant cameras. Standardisation might inhibit innovation by camera manufacturers. Finally, an idea: can object-oriented images help, or would this have the same problems as undocumented proprietary raw formats?

More info on the OpenRAW initiative:"

Submission + - The Database Exposure Survey 2007 (

ExaProtect writes: "New research by David Litchfield reveals that a staggering 368,000 Microsoft SQL Servers and 124,000 Oracle database servers were directly accessible via the internet and NOT protected by a firewall. Last ran in 2005, The Database Exposure Survey has discovered large increases in the number of unprotected databases in the two years since. Read the full article by Security Information Management firm ExaProtect"
The Internet

Submission + - Congress Passes SAFE Act, Burdens Public Networks

sqrt(2) writes: "As reported by Techdirt on the recently passed SAFE Act, "So what's so awful about the law? Well, like most "protect the children" legislation, it goes way overboard in terms of what people are expected to do, and like most legislation having to do with technology, seems utterly clueless about how technology works. The bill would require anyone providing an "electronic communication service" or a "remote computing service" to record and report information any time they "learn" that their network was used for certain broadly defined illegal activities concerning obscene images. That's double trouble, as both the illegal activities and the classification of who counts as a service provider are so broadly defined.""

Submission + - Students 'should use Wikipedia' ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC has an article on these disturbing quotes from Jimmy Wales.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said teachers who refuse students access to the site are "bad educators". Speaking at the Online Information conference at London's Olympia, he dismissed the long-running controversy over the site's authority. He said he now thinks that students should be able to cite the online encyclopaedia in their work.


Submission + - Find biodiversity research resources more easily (

An anonymous reader writes: If you needed to see a specimen of a hedgehog from Herzegovina or a fish from Fiji, would you know where to look? Finding a natural history collection that has specimens from a particular time or place is now mostly a matter of guesswork. GBIF is working to make finding this out a whole lot easier.

There are thousands of specimen collections in the world (holding billions of specimens), but there is currently no index to help a person find them, much less tell what kinds of specimens are in the collection.

These collections are vitally important to understanding biodiversity, especially in the face of global change. This is because they provide a historical baseline against which to measure the effects of that change on biodiversity. Many of these collections have been around for 300 years or more.

There has never been an index to all of them. Now, GBIF and its partners will produce not only the first Internet-based index, but also the first such index of any kind.

The Biodiversity Collections Index will be available online for anyone to use for free by the end of 2008. After that it will grow to include additional kinds of collections.

It will be interconnected with other online resources like GBIF and the Encyclopedia of Life.


Submission + - Copyright, languages, and specifications

An anonymous reader writes: I was wondering recently, how copyright licences come into effect when working with multiple languages. For instance, take a simple md5 algorithm written in C. The developer then, looking at this code, writes the Java, Perl, Python, etc as direct an equivalent as possible. Is this infringement? Furthermore, let's say that the C algorithm was a direct implementation from a public specification. How would one go about ensuring that no infringement can be claimed? Does the copyright cover only the specific expression of the algorithm, any expression that can be made to be similar to the original algorithm?

What about if one simply browsed through the code to get an understanding of how it worked, or how it implemented a specific portion of a specification, but then wrote their own implementation based upon the reading of the code — how does copyright come into play there? With regard to the copyright licenses, (if it makes any difference) assume any case (i.e. license A for the existing code and license B for the new code where A and B are different, but could be open source or closed source). Assume that no trade-secrets, patents, contracts etc are being infringed upon — this is strictly a copyright question.

Submission + - The Device NASA Is Leaving Behind

iminplaya writes: After years of delays, NASA hopes to launch this week a European-built laboratory that will greatly expand the research capability of the international space station. Although some call it a milestone, the launch has focused new attention on the space agency's earlier decision to back out of plans to send up a different, $1.5 billion device — one that many scientists contend would produce far more significant knowledge. " would be a true international disgrace if this instrument ends up as a museum piece that never is used."

Submission + - The Dangerous Wealth of the Ivy League 1

theodp writes: "BusinessWeek reports that higher education is increasingly a tale of two worlds, with elite schools getting richer and buying up all the talent. Thanks to endowments like the one that netted Harvard $5.7B in investment gains just last year, the Ivy Plus colleges — which account for less than 1% of students — have been able to lift their spending into the stratosphere, including extravagances like $272,000-a-bed-dorms and even a $4M student-horse-housing rehab. 'People used to look at every penny,' says a Yale Dean. 'The mind-set is different now.' Meanwhile, reports BW, public colleges and universities struggle to educate 75% of the country's students in an era when most states are devoting a dwindling share of their budgets to higher ed."

Submission + - Penn student at center of worldwide hacking invest (

An anonymous reader writes: When a suspicious computer server crash at the University of Pennsylvania last year denied service to 4,000 students, faculty and staff, technicians called the FBI — triggering a case that would take agents around the world and lead to the arrest of a brilliant but brash Penn junior. Ryan Goldstein, a 20-year-old bioengineering major, conspired with a New Zealand hacker known as AKILL to use Penn's computer system as a staging ground for a 50,000-computer attack against several online chat networks, authorities said. The FBI and Secret Service are expected to announce indictments today against Goldstein, a Florida man, and three others. Police recently executed related raids in New Zealand, Florida, California and Pennsylvania. The latest came Tuesday near Philadelphia. An FBI agent from the region is in New Zealand this week, and more arrests are possible. "We've been executing search warrants all over the world in this case," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy. View article for more.

Submission + - Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian Translator Created (

DrJackson writes: A new ancient languages online translator has been developed. It can translate Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian and the hieroglyphic script of Egyptian (1 of the 3 anyway). This is the website: . This is the first time I ever saw a translator for cuneiform. Something like this would be great for translating interesting historical records like the Amarna Letters.

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