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Submission + - Man Arrested for Exploiting Error in Slot Machines ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: A man awaiting trial in Pennsylvania was arrested by Federal agents on Jan. 4, and accused of exploiting a software "glitch" within slot machines in order to win payouts. The exploit may have allowed the man to obtain more than a million dollars from casinos in Pennsylvania and Nevada, and officials say they are investigating to see if he used the method elsewhere. The accused stated that "I'm being arrested federally for winning on a slot machine. Let everybody see the surveillance tapes. I pressed buttons on the machine on the casino. That's all I did.".

Apparently, slot machine software errors are fairly common, as witnessed in these stories:

The lesson here seems to be that casinos can deny you a slot machine win any time they wish by claiming software errors, and if you find an error that you can exploit, you may find yourself on Federal charges for doing so.

Comment Re:herd immunity. (Score 1) 509

That's all good and fine if you're actually a contractor and your daily travel involves hauling around lots of tools and large hardware. Nobody's going to say people shouldn't drive trucks if they don't have a real use for them on a daily basis. But so many people (men, mostly) drive their oversized monster trucks to work every day to sit at a desk and code all day. And those trucks? Not a scratch on them. No, I don't think they've ever actually been used for construction purposes.

As for me, I don't need to get windows replaced every single day. If I do, I'll rent a truck for a day. Or even easier: have them delivered. If it's local it'll cost like $20, or about 0.05% of the cost of the gas I save annually by not driving a goddamn monster truck to work.

Comment Re:String Theory Predicts Something? (Score 1) 348

Right--there's no problem with taking a mathematical model and tweaking the parameters until it fits experimental results.

But when you do that, it means your model is dependent on some basic assumptions. In the case of string theories, a well-known parameter is the number of spacial dimensions. If a model happens to fit experimental evidence very well, but only if there are 11 spacial dimensions, that's all well and good. But that model is useless if the assumptions are false.

We might still be able to design experiments to discover whether extra dimensions exist. Right now they're not feasible, due to the amount of energy it would take to explore those depths. But it may be possible. Of there turn out to be enough extra dimensions to fit a string theory, then we can put a check next to that parameter saying that it's consistent with reality. And that's a mark in favor of the theory.


Submission + - RSA Factoring Challenge is no more!

iplayfast writes: "RSA Factoring Challenge is no more.
From the site Why is the RSA Factoring Challenge no longer active?

Various cryptographic challenges — including the RSA Factoring Challenge — served in the early days of commercial cryptography to measure the state of progress in practical cryptanalysis and reward researchers for the new knowledge they have brought to the community. Now that the industry has a considerably more advanced understanding of the cryptanalytic strength of common symmetric-key and public-key algorithms, these challenges are no longer active. The records, however, are presented here for reference by interested cryptographers.

I think they've realized that with cheap cpu's and modern OS's, these challenges are more at risk, and can be cracked more easily. They just don't want to pay the money :)"

Submission + - Hybrid Cars No Better than 'Predicting' Cars

eldavojohn writes: "There's no doubt been a lot of analysis done recently on energy consumption, especially on the road. Now, a study released today reveals that cars with traffic flow sensors built into them can perform just as efficiently as hybrids. The concept of an 'intelligent' car that communicates with the highway or other cars is an old idea but the idea of them using sensors to anticipate braking could vastly reduce fossil fuel consumption. From the article, "Under the US and European cycles, hybrid-matching fuel economy was reached with a look-ahead predictability of less than 60 seconds. If the predictability was boosted to 180 seconds, the newly-intelligent car was 33 percent more fuel-efficient than when it was unconverted." Now, the real question will be whether or not you can convince consumers that the three minutes of coasting up to a red light or halted traffic is worth the 33 percent less gas and replacing your brake pads/cylinders less often."

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