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Murdoch's Hacker Speaks Out 86

This article from a Swiss newspaper recounts the appearance of Christopher Tarnovsky at the European Black Hat conference (link is to a Google translation of the French original). Next month Tarnovsky will testify in a lawsuit brought by a maker of satellite TV encryption systems (Kudeslki) against an Israeli company (NDS), for whom Tarnovsky worked until recently. (NDS is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.) While with NDS, Tarnovsky cracked Kudeslki's crypto, but claims he didn't post the result on the open Net. His responses to audience questions are amusing, in particular when someone from Microsoft asks him about breaking the Xbox 360 console. Tarnovsky replies (in the translation): "I have been offered 100,000 dollars for the break, but I replied that it was not enough."

OOXML Will Pass Amid Massive Irregularities 329

Tokimasa notes a CNet blog predicting that OOXML will make the cut. Updegrove agrees, as does the OpenMalasia blog. Reports of irregularities continue to surface, such as this one from Norway — "The meeting: 27 people in the room, 4 of which were administrative staff from Standard Norge. The outcome: Of the 24 members attending, 19 disapproved, 5 approved. The result: The administrative staff decided that Norway wants to approve OOXML as an ISO standard." Groklaw adds reportage of odd processes in Germany and Croatia.

Iceland Woos Data Centers As Power Costs Soar 142

call-me-kenneth writes "Business Week covers the soaring demand for power and cooling capacity in data centers. Electricity consumption for US data centers more than doubled between 2000 and 2006. Among the other stats: for every dollar spent on computing equipment in data centers, an additional half dollar is spent each year to power and cool them; and half the electricity used goes for cooling. Iceland, with its cool climate and abundant cheap power, is courting big users like Google and Microsoft as a future data center location. (Can't help thinking they're gonna need a bigger cable first, though.)"

Amazon Insists Publishers Use Their On-Demand Printer 182

Lawrence Person writes "According to a story up on Writer's Weekly, Print on Demand publishers are being told to use Amazon's own BookSurge POD printer or else Amazon will disable the 'buy' button for their books. After hemming and hawing, an Amazon/BookSurge rep 'finally admitted that books not converted to BookSurge would have the "buy" button turned off on Amazon.com, just as we'd heard from several other POD publishers who had similar conversations with Amazon/BookSurge representatives... their eventual desire is to have no books from other POD publishers available on Amazon.com.' So much for Amazon's Vision Statement: 'Our vision is to be earth's most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.'"

The Squid's Beak May Revolutionize Engineering 79

Ace905 writes "For years the razor-sharp beak that squid use to eat their prey has posed a puzzle to scientists. Squid are soft and fragile, but have a beak as dense as rock and sharp enough to break through hard shells. Scientists have long wondered why the beak doesn't injure the squid itself as is uses it. New research has just been published in the the journal Science that explains the phenomenon. One of the researchers described the squid beak as 'like placing an X-Acto blade in a block of fairly firm Jell-O and then trying to use it to chop celery.' Careful examination shows that the beak is formed in a gradient of density, becoming harder towards the tip end. Understanding how to make such hardness gradients could revolutionize engineering anywhere that 'interfaces between soft and hard materials [are required].' One of the first applications researchers envision is prosthetic limbs."
Hardware Hacking

Hacker Club Publishes German Official's Fingerprint 253

A number of readers let us know about the Chaos Computer Club's latest caper: they published the fingerprint of German Secretary of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble (link is to a Google translation of the German original). The club has been active in opposition to Germany's increasing push to use biometrics in, for example, e-passports. Someone friendly to the club's aims captured Schäuble's fingerprint from a glass he drank from at a panel discussion. The club published 4,000 copies of their magazine Die Datenschleuder including a plastic foil reproducing the minister's fingerprint — ready to glue to someone else's finger to provide a false biometric reading. The CCC has a page on their site detailing how to make such a fake fingerprint. The article says a ministry spokesman alluded to possible legal action against the club.

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