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Security

Cyberlock Lawyers Threaten Security Researcher Over Vulnerability Disclosure 87

qubezz writes: Security researcher Phar (Mike Davis/IOActive) gave his 30 days of disclosure notice to Cyberlock (apparently a company that makes electronic lock cylinders) that he would release a public advisory on vulnerabilities he found with the company's security devices. On day 29, their lawyers responded with a request to refrain, feigning ignorance of the previous notice, and invoking mention of the DMCA (this is not actually a DMCA takedown notice, as the law firm is attempting to suppress initial disclosure through legal wrangling). Mike's blog states: "The previous DMCA threats are from a company called Cyberlock, I had planned to do a fun little blog post (cause i ... hate blog posts) on the fun of how I obtained one, extracted the firmware bypassing the code protection and figured out its "encryption" and did various other fun things a lock shouldn't do for what its marketed as.. But before I could write that post I needed to let them know what issues we have deemed weaknesses in their gear.. the below axe grinderery is the results. (sic)" What should researchers do when companies make baseless legal threats to maintain their security-through-obscurity? Related: Bitcoin exchange company Coinbase has been accused of spying on a dark net researcher.
Space

Rosetta's Philae Probe To Land On Comet Tomorrow 74

An anonymous reader writes: After more than 10 years travelling, the Rosetta mission will take its next, momentous step by landing the Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko tomorrow. How f!@#$%ing cool is that?! Follow the landing live using the webcast, blog, or Twitter feed. (Keep in mind there's a 28-minute delay due to the time it takes the radio signals to reach Earth). Here's the scheduling info: "For the primary landing scenario, targeting Site J, Rosetta will release Philae at 08:35 GMT/09:35 CET at a distance of 22.5 km from the center of the comet, landing about seven hours later. The one-way signal travel time between Rosetta and Earth on 12 November is 28 minutes 20 seconds, meaning that confirmation of the landing will arrive at Earth ground stations at around 16:00 GMT/17:00 CET. If a decision is made to use the backup Site C, separation will occur at 13:04 GMT/14:04 CET, 12.5 km from the center of the comet. Landing will occur about four hours later, with confirmation on Earth at around 17:30 GMT/18:30 CET. The timings are subject to uncertainties of several minutes."
The Media

CmdrTaco Launches Trove, a Curated News Startup 221

jigamo writes "The Verge reports on a new app from Slashdot co-founder Rob Malda, a.k.a. CmdrTaco, which aims to provide a user-powered and -curated stream of news. It's called Trove, and it's currently available on the web as well as iPhones and iPads. From the article: 'Trove basically lets users opt in to feeds of stories that align with their interests. Users are encouraged to curate "troves," collections of stories that relate to a particular theme.' You can also read CmdrTaco's announcement post." Rob says, "At its simplest, Slashdot combines editor quality control and insight with crowd-sourced harvesting to cover the 'News for Nerds' space. Trove uses automated harvesting and machine learning to simplify a workflow for curators interested in ANY topic. The idea is that this opens up non-nerdy subjects. This will let us maintain a strong signal/noise ratio for casual users less interested in expending effort to get their news across diverse subject matter."
Software

Winamp Shutting Down On December 20 400

New submitter Cid Highwind writes "If you want to download the latest version of Winamp, you'd better do it soon. According to a new banner on the download page, AOL will be pulling the plug on the iconic llama-whipping music player in a month. 'Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.' Ars Technica ran an article last year detailing how the music player lost its dominance."
Government

Egyptian President Overthrown, Constitution Suspended 413

Al Jazeera and other publications are reporting that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been overthrown by the country's army. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, head of the Egyptian armed forces, said in a televised announcement that Morsi had been removed from power, the Constitution had been suspended, and Adli al-Mansour, leader of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, had been appointed to lead the country until elections can be held. "Sisi called for presidential and parliamentary elections, a panel to review the constitution and a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements. He said the roadmap had been agreed by a range of political groups." According to the BBC's report, "General Sisi said on state TV that the armed forces could not stay silent and blind to the call of the Egyptian masses," and "The army is currently involved in a show of force, fanning out across Cairo and taking control of the capital."
Bitcoin

Race To Mine Bitcoins Drives Enthusiasts Into the Chip Making Business 320

holy_calamity writes "MIT Technology Review looks at the small companies attempting to build dedicated chips for mining Bitcoins. Several are claiming they will start selling hardware based on their chips early in 2013, with the technology expected to force many small time miners to give up. However, as happened in the CPU industry, miners may soon be caught in an expensive arms race that pushes development of faster and faster chips."
United States

US Presidential Debate #2 Tonight: Discuss Here 706

The second U.S. Presidential debate kicks off in about a half-hour (9PM ET, 6PM PT, 0100 UTC) from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney will take questions from an audience of allegedly undecided voters. A live stream of the event will be available from a number of sources (C-SPAN, CNN, ABC, and PBS), and it will be broadcast nationally on the major networks. The flash-less and television-less can use rtmpdump to catch the debate from C-SPAN. It won't preempt the more important telecasts, like playoff baseball. Candidates from smaller parties again went uninvited (e.g. Gary Johnson from the Libertarians, Jill Stein from the Greens, Virgil Goode from the Constitution Party, and Rocky Anderson from the Justice Party). In fact, Jill Stein was arrested for attempting to enter without credentials (her side of the story). Assuming she's out of jail by Thursday, she and Gary Johnson will be participating in an online debate hosted by IVN.us. While tonight's debate is in progress, Politifact will be fact-checking the candidates in real-time (while CNN has demonstrated their journalistic capabilities with a debate drinking game). Feel free to weigh in with your commentary on the debate below — it would be helpful to provide timestamps or other context when referring to particular statements. As before, we're posting this here in a vain attempt to keep the political discussion out of other story threads tonight. If either of the candidates spontaneously concedes the election or catches fire, we'll do our best to update you.
Space

The Swirling Vortex of Titan 45

sighted writes "New images from the robotic spacecraft Cassini show the ongoing formation of a massive vortex in the atmosphere of Saturn's planet-sized moon Titan. (See also this animation.) The same moon has recently provided tantalizing hints of an underground ocean as well. Future missions, if any are ever funded, will have plenty to explore."
Earth

2011 Was the 9th Hottest Year On Record 877

The Bad Astronomer writes "Last year was the 9th hottest year out of the past 130, according to NASA and the NOAA. That's no coincidence: nine out of the ten hottest years on record have been since the year 2000. It's long past time to face facts: the Earth is getting hotter, and to deny it is an exercise in fantasy."
The Media

Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62 910

An anonymous reader sends this quote from the NY Times: "Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the American-led war in Iraq, died Thursday at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was 62. He took pains to emphasize that he had not revised his position on atheism, articulated in his best-selling 2007 book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, although he did express amused appreciation at the hope, among some concerned Christians, that he might undergo a late-life conversion. Mr. Hitchens's latest collection of writings, Arguably: Essays, published this year, has been a best-seller and ranked among the top 10 books of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review."
Government

US Gives Raytheon $10.5M For 'Serious Games' 108

coondoggie writes "These aren't your basic video gaming systems here. The U.S. government gave Raytheon BBN Technologies $10.5 million today to develop what it called 'serious games' that feature an international detective theme developed by game designers, cognitive psychologists and experts in intelligence analysis."
AI

Computer Learns Language By Playing Games 133

Frans Faase writes "By basing its strategies on the text of a manual, a computer infers the meanings of words without human supervision. The paper Learning to Win by Reading Manuals in a Monte-Carlo Framework (PDF) explains how a computer program succeeds in playing Civilization II using the official game manual as a strategy guide. This manual uses a large vocabulary of 3638 words, and is composed of 2083 sentences, each on average 16.9 words long. By this the program improves it success rate from 45% to 78% in playing the game. No prior knowledge of the language is used."
Games

Ask Slashdot: Best Adventure Game To Start With? 480

canolecaptain writes "One of my daughters (10 years old) has become interested in adventure games, and started playing Fate. It's been awhile since I've had time to play this type of game (since the Diablo 2 days), and I'd like to know what Slashdotters thought would be the best set of adventure games to start her on (PC preferred). Nothing too scary yet, so unfortunately, Diablo is out for the time being. I'd prefer one with multi-player so that we could quest together on ocassion."
Power

MIT Develops Fast Charging Liquid Flow Batteries 135

An anonymous reader sends this from the MIT News office: "A radically new approach to the design of batteries, developed by researchers at MIT, could provide a lightweight and inexpensive alternative to existing batteries for electric vehicles and the power grid. The technology could even make 'refueling' such batteries as quick and easy as pumping gas into a conventional car (abstract). The new battery relies on an innovative architecture called a semi-solid flow cell, in which solid particles are suspended in a carrier liquid and pumped through the system. In this design, the battery’s active components — the positive and negative electrodes, or cathodes and anodes — are composed of particles suspended in a liquid electrolyte. These two different suspensions are pumped through systems separated by a filter, such as a thin porous membrane."
Classic Games (Games)

Roguelikes: the Misnamed Genre 201

ZorbaTHut writes "I've been playing a lot of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup lately. It's a great example of a roguelike (and open source, too). But I can't stop thinking that perhaps 'roguelike' is the wrong term for the genre. 'Roguelikes aren’t about dungeons. They’re not about text-based graphics, or random artifacts, or permadeath. ... Roguelikes are about using an unpredictable toolkit with complex interactions in order to overcome unpredictable challenges.'"

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