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Submission + - Watching a Botnet From the Inside (

Trailrunner7 writes: When you hear about botnets such as Rustock, Mariposa or Grum being taken down, one of the tactics that's usually involved is sinkholing. The technique, which involves pointing the infected machines to a server controlled by good guys rather than attackers, often is used as one of the last steps to take the botnet offline. But some recent work done by researchers at Damballa took a slightly different tack and used the sinkhole as a way to study a recently discovered botnet in operation, and what they found in their traffic analysis was pretty interesting.

The Damballa researchers had come across the botnet, which they have not named, in recent weeks and were looking at the way that the network used a domain-generation algorithm to come up with new command-and-control domains for infected machines to contact. Many botnets use this same method, as it give them the ability to react quickly when one domain is taken down or blacklisted by a large number of security products. When that happens, the botmaster can simply send out an instruction for all of the bots to connect to the new domain. Or the bots can be programmed to connect to various new domains at regular intervals, based on the date or other variables.

In this case, the researchers saw that a lot of bots were trying to connect to some domains that had not been registered yet. So they did some quick statistical analysis and picked out some of the most frequently requested domains and registered the domains themselves. The Damballa researchers then pointed the domains to a sinkhole maintained by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center and sat back and watched the action.

Submission + - Gladiator Grave Found in UK (

a-zarkon! writes: Scientists have discovered a grave site in York containing 80 skeletons of people presumed to have been gladiators. Skeletons show evidence of bite marks that appear to have come from lions, tigers, or bears (oh my!) Evidence also leads them to believe the men came from areas throughout the Roman empire and shows evidence of heavy musculature and weapons training from a young age. Full story available from CNN at

House Votes To Expand National DNA Arrest Database 341

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from CNET: "Millions of Americans arrested for but not convicted of crimes will likely have their DNA forcibly extracted and added to a national database, according to a bill approved by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday. By a 357 to 32 vote, the House approved legislation that will pay state governments to require DNA samples, which could mean drawing blood with a needle, from adults 'arrested for' certain serious crimes. Not one Democrat voted against the database measure, which would hand out about $75 million to states that agree to make such testing mandatory. ... But civil libertarians say DNA samples should be required only from people who have been convicted of crimes, and argue that if there is probable cause to believe that someone is involved in a crime, a judge can sign a warrant allowing a blood sample or cheek swab to be forcibly extracted."

Comment Re:This will be one of the shorter X-Prize contest (Score 4, Insightful) 175

One aspect to this is programming the mind itself.

To some extent we already do this naturally with our learning and memory forming cognitive capabilities. Simple programs are easily written to our minds.


It will take time to build a language in which we can program more complex behaviors, but I have no doubt it is possible.

Comment Nuclear Waste and Geothermal Energy (Score 1) 373

I see alot of people talking about nuclear waste and how to handle it. Wouldn't it be possible to use some of that to build RTGs or something similar? ( Those materials are releasing energy, if we could put it to use, then this "waste" would become a useful asset.

And about geothermal energy becoming our main source of energy someday. It all sounds nice, but, wouldn't it be a bit risky if we used geothermal energy for almost 100% of our energy needs? I'm not a geologist, but it seems to me like this could accelerate the cooling of the earth's core... And if it ever became solid, our planet could be without a magnetic field. Of course, we're talking about very long term consequences, but it would suck to have the earth lose its atmosphere to space as Mars did... Especially if we never even manage to leave the solar system. Of course, if this possibility is millions of years away, then I suppose it could be acceptable to use geothermal energy until we can find something better (I'm hoping we'll have managed fusion, 1000 years from now).

Comment Re:I noticed this problem almost half a decade ago (Score 1) 1343

There's a lot of centralized media control to be blamed. Rap often conveys a sense of pride regarding their backgrounds. Coming from the hood, dropping out of school, selling drugs, etc. You have good examples, too. Unfortunately, there are still more good examples. I can't help but wonder where this problem originated.
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - OnLive Gaming Service Gets Lukewarm Approval (

Vigile writes: When the OnLive cloud-based gaming service was first announced back in March of 2009, it was met with equal parts excitement and controversy. While the idea of playing games on just about any kind of hardware thanks to remote rendering and streaming video was interesting, the larger issue remained of how OnLive planned to solve the latency problem. With the closed beta currently underway, PC Perspective put the OnLive gaming service to the test by comparing the user experiences of the OnLive-based games to the experiences with the same locally installed titles. The end result appears to be that while slower input-dependent games like Burnout: Paradise worked pretty well, games that require a fast twitch-based input scheme like UT3 did not.

Submission + - NASA Puffin Low Noise, Electric VTOL Personal Air (

teambpsi writes: NASA has designs on a super quiet (read stealthy) one person VTOL. Scientific American has a scoop here

It's no flying car — or jet pack for that matter, but it seems potentially more realistic, and less likely to set you on fire.


Submission + - Top 10 Open Source Rookies of 09: What's Missing? (

svonkie writes: Despite everything, 2009 was a bumper crop for new open source projects. It is estimated that developers created 52 new open source projects a day on average. So who was the best of the best in new open source for 2009? According to an analysis of more than 19,000 projects by Black Duck Software measuring project popularity and influence, the Top Ten OSS projects of 2009 were Live Android, Open Health Natural Language Processing, Mobile Browser Definition File, Redis (REmote Dictionary Server) Smasher, AbiCloud, Transdroid, Rainmeter, and TweetCraft. But what's missing from the list, according to ZDNet's Alan Shimel, are "meat and potatoes traditional computing applications."

Submission + - Agriculture: Invented, so that we might have beer (

Jeremy Erwin writes: Our Neolithic ancestors might have first experimented with agriculture in order to ensure a steady supply of alcoholic liquids according to a new book by Patrick McGovern, Uncorking the Past The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages

"Archaeologists have long pondered the question of which came first, bread or beer. McGovern surmises that these prehistoric humans didn't initially have the ability to master the very complicated process of brewing beer. However, they were even more incapable of baking bread, for which wild grains are extremely unsuitable. They would have had first to separate the tiny grains from the chaff, with a yield hardly worth the great effort. If anything, the earliest bakers probably made nothing more than a barely palatable type of rough bread, containing the unwanted addition of the grain's many husks."

Calcium Oxalate is considered by most brewers to be an undesirable byproduct of alcohol production. Lacking a firm grasp of chemistry and filters, early brewers simply created special grooved beer crocks would allow the beer stone to precipitate out of solution into the grooves. 5500 years later, the deposits remained, providing archaeologists with evidence of beer production.


Submission + - The Apple Tablet Interface Must Be Like This (

kylevh writes: On one side there are the people who think that a traditional GUI—one built on windows, folders and the old desktop metaphor—is the only way to go for a tablet. In another camp, there are the ones who are dreaming about magic 3D interfaces and other experimental stuff, thinking that Apple would come up with a wondrous new interface that nobody can imagine now, one that will bring universal love, world peace and pancakes for everyone. Both camps are wrong: The iPhone started a UI revolution, and the tablet is just step two. Here's why.

Submission + - Supreme Court rolls back campaign spending limits (

lorenlal writes: The Supreme Court of the United States must have figured that restrictions on corporate support of candidates was a violation of free speech, or something like that.

By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.


Submission + - Court rules WHOIS privacy illegal for spammers (

Unequivocal writes: Spammers hiding behind a WHOIS privacy service have been found in violation of CAN-SPAM. It probably won't stop other spammers from hiding (what can?) but at least it adds another arrow in the legal quiver for skewering the bottom feeders:

'A recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has determined that using WHOIS privacy on domains may be considered "material falsification" under federal law... Although the ruling does not make use of WHOIS privacy illegal, it does serve as a clear message from the court that coupling the use of privacy services with intentional spamming will likely result in a violation of the CAN-SPAM act. This is an important decision that members of the domain community should refer to prior to utilizing a privacy shield.'

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