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The Almighty Buck

Submission + - ATM repairman accused of faking cash (gawker.com)

fysdt writes: "An ATM repairman was nabbed in Phoenix on charges of having stolen about $200,000 in ATM funds from San Francisco-area branches of Bank of America. His method was almost brilliant in its sheer stupidity: He pocketed the cash, and replaced it in the machines with "counterfeit or photocopied $20 bills.""

Submission + - New Book Reports Soviets Behind Roswell UFO Scare (msn.com) 2

jalefkowit writes: "A new book by Los Angeles Times Magazine investigative reporter Annie Jacobsen, titled "Area 51," reports that that the famous 1947 UFO sightings in Roswell, New Mexico, were actually an attempt by the Soviet Union to demonstrate that they could panic the American population if they wished. According to the book, the "UFOs" were actually aircraft derived from flying-wing technology, piloted by "child-size aviators" surgically altered by captured Nazi doctors to appear more frightening. Skeptics note that this account is based on testimony provided to Jacobsen by a single unnamed source, who she describes as one of only five engineers given full access to the crash debris at the top-secret facility in Nevada known as Area 51."

Lies, Damned Lies and Cat Statistics 175

spopepro writes "While un-captioned cats might be of limited interest to the /. community, I found this column on how a fabricated statistic takes on a life of its own interesting. Starting with the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) claim that the unsterilized offspring of a cat will '...result in 420,000 cats in 5 years,' the author looks at other erroneous numbers, where they came from and why they won't go away."
Classic Games (Games)

Chess Ratings — Move Over Elo 133

databuff writes "Less than 24 hours ago, Jeff Sonas, the creator of the Chessmetrics rating system, launched a competition to find a chess rating algorithm that performs better than the official Elo rating system. The competition requires entrants to build their rating systems based on the results of more than 65,000 historical chess games. Entrants then test their algorithms by predicting the results of another 7,809 games. Already three teams have managed create systems that make more accurate predictions than the official Elo approach. It's not a surprise that Elo has been outdone — after all, the system was invented half a century ago before we could easily crunch large amounts of historical data. However, it is a big surprise that Elo has been bettered so quickly!"

Potato-Powered Batteries Debut 284

MojoKid writes "Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has just introduced what it's calling 'solid organic electric battery based upon treated potatoes.' In short, it's a potato-powered battery, and it's as real as you're hoping it is. The simple, sustainable, robust device can potentially provide an immediate inexpensive solution to electricity needs in parts of the world lacking electrical infrastructure. Researchers at the Hebrew University discovered that the enhanced salt bridge capability of treated potato tubers can generate electricity through means readily available in developing nations."

Home Computers Equal Lower Test Scores 278

An anonymous reader writes "Politicians and education activists have long sought to eliminate the 'digital divide' by guaranteeing universal access to home computers, and in some cases to high-speed Internet service. But a Duke University study finds these efforts would actually widen the achievement gap in math and reading scores. Students in grades five through eight, particularly those from disadvantaged families, tend to post lower scores once these technologies arrive in their homes."

Slackware 13.1 Released 155

Several readers made sure we are aware that Slackware 13.1 release is out. Here's the list of mirrors. "Slackware 13.1 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.6.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy-to-use desktop environment, and KDE 4.4.3, a recent stable release of the new 4.4.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment."

76% of Web Users Affected By Browser History Stealing 130

An anonymous reader writes "Web browser history detection with the CSS:visited trick has been known for the last ten years, but recently published research suggests that the problem is bigger than previously thought. A study of 243,068 users found that 76% of them were vulnerable to history detection by malicious websites. Newer browsers such as Safari and Chrome were even more affected, with 82% and 94% of users vulnerable. An average of 63 visited locations were detected per user, and for the top 10% of users the tests found over 150 visited sites. The website has a summary of the findings; the full paper (PDF) is available as well."

Comment Re:...and there's still no comparable alternative. (Score 1) 273

I really wish someone got around to solve the binary problem once and for all, so Usenet again could be for discussions. By all means, it needs upgrades, like native Unicode support

Usenet is encoding-agnostic: Unicode support depends solely on your client.

and better anonymisation

Pick a server that encrypts your IP. Even some of the free ones will do this (e.g.: news.albasani.net, news.aioe.org).


The Status of Routing Reform — How Fragile is the Internet? 139

crimeandpunishment points out the Associated Press's look (as carried by SkunkPost) "at an issue the government has been aware of for more than 20 years, but still isn't fixed and continues to cause Internet outages: a flaw in the routing system that sends data from carrier to carrier. Most outages are innocent and fixed quickly, but there's growing concern the next one could be devastating. A general manager at Renesys Corporation, which tracks the performance of Internet data routes, says, 'It amazes me every day when I get into work and find it's working.'"

Comment Re:Watch the messenger (Score 1) 457

>>and a crap web browser with no plugin or extension support.
>Flash runs like shit on netbooks.

Your only criteria for web browsers is that they run flash well????

The built in browser in the iPad is *horrible* for casual browser. It's basically unusable for me. I do like the iPad for some things, but those are very specific & constrained uses, and web browsing is certainly not one of them.

Comment Re:Thats cheating (Score 1) 246

If you define enough real world processes as calculation, you prove none of our laws of physics are the real ones.

      For just one example, Nature can't be storing irrational numbers as infinite series expressions (where would the infinitely large registers to store them be?). Another way to put this is, if some process in Nature counts as a calculation, Nature can't be doing that calculation using numbers such as pi or e, but rather finite approximations of such numbers, that allow results in finite time.

There exists a small number of physicists who are willing to entertain the idea that Nature does not, in fact, deal with any irrational numbers. If all measurable values are quantized (including time and space), then Nature need not bother with "real" numbers. Nature might be perfectly content to get by with, say, some large algebraic extension of the rationals.

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"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.