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Submission + - Linking The War on Terror to the War on Drugs

Nicola Hahn writes: As news of the DEA’s clandestine phone record collection program emerges into public view an article published by The Atlantic highlights the links and recurring themes between the so called long war (the global war on terror) and the global war on drugs:

“Both are brutally expensive and arguably un-winnable. And in both cases, use of the word ‘war’ is a deliberate and calculated language choice. Americans are taught that a war is something an entire nation must fight, and something that requires sacrifice for the greater good. Considered in the context of government surveillance, both ‘wars’ are euphemisms for a specific kind of government rationalization.”

Indeed it’s not surprising that the word “cyberwar” has likewise been conspicuously wielded by officials in a deliberate effort to both enhance government control and channel hundreds of billions of dollars to the patronage networks of the defense industry.

Submission + - One Professional Russian Troll Tells All (

SecState writes: Hundreds of full-time, well-paid trolls operate thousands of fake accounts to fill social media sites and comments threads with pro-Kremlin propaganda. A St. Petersburg blogger spent two months working 12-hour shifts in a "troll factory," targeting forums of Russian municipal websites. In an interview, he describes how he worked in teams with two other trolls to create false "debates" about Russian and international politics, with pro-Putin views always scoring the winning point. Of course, with the U.S. government invoking "state secrets" to dismiss a defamation case against the supposedly independent advocacy group United Against a Nuclear Iran, Americans also need to be asking how far is too far when it comes to masked government propaganda.

Comment A replacement for the BIS monitor? (Score 5, Informative) 151

An article in the Atlantic earlier this year discussed a technology apparently widely employed by hospitals to monitor whether patients are experiencing "interoperative awareness" during surgery: a Bispectral Index (BIS) monitor, which performs a electroencephalogram continuously during surgery and checks it against patterns thought to indicate conscious awareness. In early testing, it looked like it could detect most cases of interoperative awareness and was quickly adopted in hospitals from around 2004, but its reliability is now in question and the device, though still widely used, is controversial.

From TFA, it seems this system is aimed at understanding brain damage and not at preventing interoperative awareness. Unfortunately the article doesn't give enough detail to know if the new tool is also based on EEG (I can't access the original study through the paywall). But, if it is, and if it gives a better sense of what patients are aware of, maybe it will have some use in the operating room as well.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised there's a Craigslist for Bagd (Score 1) 335

In Afghanistan, part of the point seems to be to encourage some rough adeherence to local norms to reduce resentment of the US presence among locals. Hence, the ban on alcohol for US military in Afghanistan and, from TFA, in Afghanistan "commanders have forbidden any sexual encounters between unwed people." Questionable whether this is effective, but it originated as part of a bigger package of trying to discourage US forces from living in a complete bubble, separate from the political and social systems they're trying to change.

In the Iraq case described in the article, there seemed to be some concern (misguided in my view) that hooking up online, posting nudies on CL, etc., is prejudicial to the "good order and discipline in the armed forces." While agreed that the Secret Service exhibited very poor discipline in soliciting prostitutes in Colombia, I'm not sure I see how a "casual encounter" between two soldiers in Baghdad undermines good order or discipline.

Submission + - DDoS Attacks are Getting Bigger, Stronger and Longer

An anonymous reader writes: Attack durations are increasing because perpetrators are less concerned about detection and protecting their botnets. The widespread availability of compromised web servers makes it much easier for malicious actors to replenish, grow and redeploy botnets. Traditionally, botnets have been built from compromised clients. This requires malware distribution via PCs and virus infections, and takes considerable time and effort. Consequently, attackers wanted to protect their client-based botnets and were more fearful of detection, so we saw shorter attack durations. The average packet-per-second rate reached 47.4 Mpps and the average bandwidth reached 49.24 Gbps. These metrics, representing increases of 1,655 percent and 925 percent respectively compared to Q2 2012.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Man Spends 2,200 Hours Defeating Bejeweled 2 179

An anonymous reader writes "A California steel contractor spent 2,200 total hours over the last three years racking up a high score in Bejeweled 2. He exceeded the 2^31-1 maximum score programmed for the score display, proving that there is, in fact, an end to the game. I suppose congratulations or condolences are in order."

Open Source 3D Nvidia Driver Is Ready For Fedora 13 160

An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat has already been using the Nouveau X.Org driver in Fedora for providing display and 2D support, but with their next release (Fedora 13) they will be making open-source 3D acceleration readily available to those using Nvidia graphics cards. Red Hat has packaged the Nouveau 3D driver in Fedora 13 and what makes it interesting — besides being an open source 3D driver that was written by the community by reverse engineering Nvidia's closed-source driver — is that it's one of the first drivers to use the Gallium3D driver interface. Phoronix has tested out this Gallium3D driver for Nvidia GPUs in a Fedora 13 daily build and found it to run with a variety of OpenGL games, with benchmarks being included that compare it to Nvidia's official driver. The performance is far from being on the same stage as Nvidia's official Unix driver."
Real Time Strategy (Games)

StarCraft II Closed Beta Begins 268

Blizzard announced today that the multiplayer beta test for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is now underway. The client downloader is available through for people who have received invites, and the system requirements have been posted as well. A list of known issues is up on the official forums. StarCraft II and the revamped are planned for release "in the first half of 2010."

Does a Game Have To Fail To Get a Real Ending? 178

After the closure of Tabula Rasa over the weekend, the Opposable Thumbs blog asks if that's what it takes for a game to have an actual ending these days. Quoting: "It's no surprise that most games hope for a sequel, as it's the easiest way to get some of that money back while taking advantage of the staff, engine, assets, and other advantages you've banked while creating the first title. The problem? This has lead to a generation of cliff-hangers at worst, and endings that hedge their bets at best. ... As all the game's characters die, as the servers are shut down, as the data is erased or backed up and then boxed or whatever happens to MMO data once the game is done, it's hard not to be a little sad. The sights and sounds of the world of Tabula Rasa are gone, forever. All the memories written into those ones and zeroes will quickly be forgotten, and no one will walk those grounds again." Massively put together a few screenshots and videos to commemorate the ending of the game.

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When it is incorrect, it is, at least *authoritatively* incorrect. -- Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy