Quince alPillan writes: Announcing what it calls "the first cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government," the Department of Defense says it's inviting vetted hackers to test the security of its web pages and networks. Vetted hackers will need to pass a background check and will be attacking a predetermined system that's not a part of critical operations. This program is being put together by the Digital Defense Service, launched last fall.
Quince alPillan writes: Occupy Wall Street has a new plan for helping the 99%. They've set up an old-fashioned telethon they're calling the Rolling Jubilee to buy up bad debt with donations and then forgiving the debt outright. As a test run, they set themselves up as a debt collector and they were able to use $500 to buy $14,000 worth of bad debt, which they then forgave. The telethon will be held at the Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday, November 15. It will also stream online.
We have found that the best defense against major unexpected failures is to fail often. By frequently causing failures, we force our services to be built in a way that is more resilient. We are excited to make a long-awaited announcement today that will help others who embrace this approach.
We have written about our Simian Army in the past and we are now proud to announce that the source code for the founding member of the Simian Army, Chaos Monkey, is available to the community.
Do you think your applications can handle a troop of mischievous monkeys loose in your infrastructure? Now you can find out.
Quince alPillan writes: The bacteria behind the Black Death has a very unusual history. Its ancestor is an unassuming soil bacterium and the current strains of Yersinia pestis still infects thousands of people annually, but no longer causes the suite of horrifying symptoms associated with the medieval plagues. The radical differences, in fact, had led some to suggest that we had been blaming the wrong bacteria. Now, researchers have obtained DNA from some of London's plague victims, and confirmed that Y. pestis appears to be to blame. But the sequences also suggest that the strains of bacteria we see today may be different from the ones that rampaged through Europe.
...the Charity Auction at this year's GenCon Indianapolis was held to benefit Gary Gygax's favorite charity, which I will not name here for reasons that will soon become obvious. The fine folks at GenCon raised over $17,000 for this charity, which helps starving children in impovershed areas of the world--only to have that money actually turned down by the charity. The charity refused due to the fact that the money was raised partly by the sales of Dungeons and Dragons materials, which as we all know, puts an irrevocable taint of evil on the filthy lucre that us demon-worshipping gamers might want to use to, say, donate to starving children. Not only is this a slap in the face to every gamer, but it is especially insulting to Mr. Gygax himself, who I understand donated to their cause many times over the years. Plus, I'm sure the children who would have gotten food or clean drinking water with that money would be sort of upset, too.
In the USA, the eclipse will already be underway when the moon rises on Saturday evening.... Rising moons are often reddened by clouds or pollution, but this moon will be the deep, extraordinary red only seen during a lunar eclipse.