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Submission + - Livejournal Secretly Stealing Affiliate Links

Baxil writes: "Detective work by Livejournal users has turned up a Javascript file that stealthily changes users' outgoing links to e-commerce sites upon clicking, including substitution of affiliate IDs with a different ID number. There's no mention of this in the TOS or in recent code updates. More damningly, there's a secret setting in the LJ console that turns this behavior off. With over a million active users, that's a lot of affiliate theft."

Submission + - China's Human Flesh Search Engine

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times has an interesting article about Human-flesh search engines — renrou sousuo yinqing — that have become a phenomenon in China: they are a form of online vigilante justice in which Internet users hunt down and punish people who have attracted their wrath. The goal is to get the targets of a search fired from their jobs, shamed in front of their neighbors, or run out of town. It’s crowd-sourced detective work, pursued online — with offline results. “In the United States, traditional media are still playing the key role in setting the agenda for the public,” says Jin Liwen. “But in China, you will see that a lot of hot topics, hot news or events actually originate from online discussions.” In one well known case, when a video appeared in China of a woman stomping a cat to death with the sharp point of her high heel, the human flesh search engine tracked the kitten killer’s home to the town of Luobei in Heilongjiang Province, in the far northeast, and her name — Wang Jiao — was made public, as were her phone number and her employer. “Wang Jiao was affected a lot,” says one Luobei resident . “She left town and went somewhere else." The kitten-killer case didn’t just provide revenge; it helped turn the human-flesh search engine into a national phenomenon. Searches have also been directed against cheating spouses, corrupt government officials, amateur pornography makers, Chinese citizens who are perceived as unpatriotic, journalists who urge a moderate stance on Tibet and rich people who try to game the Chinese system. “The idea that you manage the local bureaucracy by sicking the masses on them is actually not a democratic tradition but a Maoist tradition,” says Rebecca MacKinnon. “It’s a great way to divert the qi, the anger, to places where it’s the least damaging to the central government’s legitimacy.”"

Submission + - Ubisoft's DRM Cracked Within 1 Day (

An anonymous reader writes: In response to the article "The Awful Anti-Pirate System that will Probably Work", TorrentFreak reports that Ubisoft's new DRM was cracked in under a day for the game Silent Hunter 5.

Submission + - Steam Coming to OSX (

amuench writes: PC World reports that:
  "Yesterday, MacRumors and various gaming sites received what is about as solid proof as Internet rumors get- in the form of these teaser images based on Apple ad campaigns sent from Valve itself. Not only do these images provide fairly solid evidence of Steam on Mac, it also seems to point to Valve having gone the extra mile and ported the popular Source engine and some of its games to OS X..."

The Military

Soviets Built a Doomsday Machine; It's Still Alive 638

An anonymous reader points out a story in Wired introducing us to the Doomsday Machine built by the Soviet Union in the 1980s — and that remains active to this day. It was called "Perimeter." The article explains why the device was built, and why the Soviets considered it to be something that kept the peace, even though they never told the US about it. "[Reagan's] strategy worked. Moscow soon believed the new US leadership really was ready to fight a nuclear war. But the Soviets also became convinced that the US was now willing to start a nuclear war. ... A few months later, Reagan... announced that the US was going to develop a shield of lasers and nuclear weapons in space to defend against Soviet warheads. ... To Moscow it was the Death Star — and it confirmed that the US was planning an attack. ... By guaranteeing that Moscow could hit back, Perimeter was actually designed to keep an overeager Soviet military or civilian leader from launching prematurely during a crisis. The point, [an informant] says, was 'to cool down all these hotheads and extremists. No matter what was going to happen, there still would be revenge. Those who attack us will be punished.'"

Feed Banking on Babies' Cord Blood (

Pediatricians push the ultimate biological insurance policy -- a stash of umbilical cord blood to battle future illness -- as the government sets up a national blood-banking system. By the Associated Press.


Submission + - Should sites like Wikipedia be blocked at schools?

Londovir writes: Recently our school board made the decision to block Wikipedia from our school district's WAN system. This was a complete block — there aren't even provisions in place for teachers or administrators to input a password to bypass the restriction. The reason given was that Wikipedia (being user created and edited) did not represent a credible or reliable source of reference for schools. My question is: should we block sites such as Wikipedia because students may be exposed to misinformation, or should we encourage sites such as Wikipedia as an outlet for students to investigate and determine validity of information? What's your opinion?

Submission + - FBI Translating 1,000 Wiretap Conversations a Day

An anonymous reader writes: New on the Bad Guys blog: FBI Translating Over 1,000 Wiretap Conversations a Day Spurred by adding hundreds of new linguists and help from allies overseas, the FBI is translating a record 34,000 wiretapped conversations a month, Bureau officials tell the Bad Guys blog. bi_translating_over_1000_wire.htm Long criticized for their lack of language specialists, FBI officials say they are finally catching up to an unprecedented intake of surveillance since 9/11. In the last four years, the Bureau's counterterrorism investigations have netted a windfall of foreign language materials: Over 500,000 hours of audio 5.5 million electronic data files 1.8 million pages of text The growth in FBI electronic surveillance is due largely to counterterrorism and counterintelligence wiretaps. The number of national security wiretaps approved by the secret FISA court jumped by 122 percent from 2001 to 2005, the story notes, while criminal wiretaps have increased by only 19 percent.

Feed News: Here we go again (

Gabe: You might have seen this story on CNN about the teens that murdered a homeless guy and then equated it to the sort of thrill one might get from a violent video game. There will be plenty of articles focusing on these kids and their crime. I"d like to take a second and talk about the parents of these teenagers instead. It is the job of a parent to teach their children certain rules. Obviously the rules themselves and the emphasis each family places on them will vary, but there are certain universal constants that these parents obviously failed to pass on.

Submission + - VR used to treat US soldiers with PTSD

dhardisty writes: "Researchers at the University of Southern California have created a virtual reality program 'that simulates life in the war zone for Iraq veterans suffering from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).' The program incorporates wrap-around vision, sounds, physical sensations, and even smells. It is used to support exposure therapy, an empirically supported cognitive behavioral treatment for PTSD."

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