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Government

Man Hits Teenager On Airplane For Using iPhone 7

Charlotte Web writes "A 68-year-old man was arrested in Idaho after punching a teenager who refused to switch off their iPhone on an airplane. 'The unnamed boy ignored the flight crew's request to switch off electronic devices and instead continued playing games and listening to music,' after which, the teenager says, the man went 'ballistic.' After their scuffle, the 68-year-old man now faces a six month jail term or a $1,000 fine. But the iPhone-using teenager 'did not require medical attention and did not face any police action.'"

Submission + - Stuxnet Still Out of Control at Iran Nuclear Sites (foxnews.com)

Velcroman1 writes: Iran's nuclear program is still in chaos despite its leaders' adamant claim that they have contained the computer worm that attacked their facilities, cybersecurity experts in the U.S. and Europe say. Last week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after months of denials, admitted that the worm had penetrated Iran's nuclear sites, but he said it was detected and controlled. The second part of that claim, experts say, doesn't ring true. Owners of several security sites have discovered huge bumps in traffic from Iran, as the country tries to deal with Stuxnet. "Our traffic from Iran has really spiked," said a corporate officer who asked that neither he nor his company be named. "Iran now represents 14.9 percent of total traffic, surpassing the United States with a total of 12.1 percent."
IT

Submission + - A Chinese ISP momentarily hijacks the Internet (goodgearguide.com.au)

angry tapir writes: "For the second time in two weeks, bad networking information spreading from China has disrupted the Internet. On Thursday morning, bad routing data from a small Chinese ISP called IDC China Telecommunication was re-transmitted by China's state-owned China Telecommunications, and then spread around the Internet, affecting Internet service providers such as AT&T, Level3, Deutsche Telekom, Qwest Communications and Telefonica."
Politics

Submission + - Texas Textbooks Battle is Actually an American War (nytimes.com) 1

ideonexus writes: I've been lackadaisical when it comes to following stories about Texas schoolboard attempts to slip creationism into Biology textbooks, dismissing the stories as just "dumbass Texans," but what I didn't realize is that Texas schoolbooks set the standard for the rest of the country, and it's not just Creationism that this Christian coalition is attempting to bring into schoolbooks, but a full frontal assault on history, politics, and the humanities that exploits the fact that final decisions are being made by a school board completely academically unqualified to make informed evaluations of the changes these lobbyists propose. This evangelical lobby has successfully had references to the American Constitution as a "living document," as textbooks have defined it since the 1950s, removed in favor of an "enduring Constitution" not subject to change, as well as attempting to over-emphasize the role Christianity played in the founding of America. The leaders of these efforts outright admit they are attempting to redefine the way our children understand the political landscape so that, when they grow up, they will have preconceived notions of the American political system that favor their evangelical Christian goals.
Space

New Theory of Gravity Decouples Space & Time 575

eldavojohn writes "Petr Horava, a physicist at the University of California in Berkeley, has a new theory about gravity and spacetime. At high energies, it actually snips any ties between space and time, yet at low energies devolves to equivalence with the theory of General Relativity, which binds them together. The theory is gaining popularity with physicists because it fits some observations better than Einstein's or Newton's solutions. It better predicts the movement of the planets (in an idealized case) and has a potential to create the illusion of dark matter. Another physicist calculated that under Horava Gravity, our universe would experience not a Big Bang but a Big Bounce — and the new theory reproduces the ripples from such an event in a way that matches measurements of the cosmic microwave background."
Security

Submission + - Is a zeroed hard drive really secure?

imus writes: A challenge to confirm whether or not a professional data recovery firm or any individual(s) or organization(s) can recover data from a hard drive that has been overwritten with zeros once. We used the 32 year-old Unix dd command using /dev/zero as input to overwrite the drive... What do you guys think, can the challenge be won?
United States

Submission + - Constitution Visitors Expelled for Caps/T-Shirts (opednews.com)

wonkavader writes: "On Jan 12, members of John Niremberg's impeachment march (which started over a month ago in Boston) were either denied entry to or expelled from the National Archives for wearing clothing printed with the articles of the Constitution concerning impeachment."

The National Archives bars or boots people with parts of the constitution printed on T-Shirts? Yikes. The excuse used was that the Archives security should prevent protests in the Archives, but clearly, the people were expelled because of who they were, not what they did (which was apparently nothing other than get in line to see the Constitution). Does a national resource have the right to expel anyone based on political leanings? (The audio referenced is a little shrill, but has some interesting details.)

Stories are here and here.

Privacy

Submission + - If Your Hard Drive Could Testify ...

An anonymous reader writes: A couple of years ago, Michael T. Arnold landed at the Los Angeles International Airport after a 20-hour flight from the Philippines. He had his laptop with him, and a customs officer took a look at what was on his hard drive. Clicking on folders called "Kodak pictures" and "Kodak memories," the officer found child pornography. The search was not unusual: the government contends that it is perfectly free to inspect every laptop that enters the country, whether or not there is anything suspicious about the computer or its owner. Rummaging through a computer's hard drive, the government says, is no different than looking through a suitcase. One federal appeals court has agreed, and a second seems ready to follow suit. There is one lonely voice on the other side. In 2006, Judge Dean D. Pregerson of Federal District Court in Los Angeles suppressed the evidence against Mr. Arnold. "Electronic storage devices function as an extension of our own memory," Judge Pregerson wrote, in explaining why the government should not be allowed to inspect them without cause. "They are capable of storing our thoughts, ranging from the most whimsical to the most profound." Computer hard drives can include, Judge Pregerson continued, diaries, letters, medical information, financial records, trade secrets, attorney-client materials and — the clincher, of course — information about reporters' "confidential sources and story leads." But Judge Pregerson's decision seems to be headed for reversal. The three judges who heard the arguments in October in the appeal of his decision seemed persuaded that a computer is just a container and deserves no special protection from searches at the border. The same information in hard-copy form, their questions suggested, would doubtless be subject to search. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., took that position in a 2005 decision. It upheld the conviction of John W. Ickes Jr., who crossed the Canadian border with a computer containing child pornography. A customs agent's suspicions were raised, the court's decision said, "after discovering a video camera containing a tape of a tennis match which focused excessively on a young ball boy." It is true that the government should have great leeway in searching physical objects at the border. But the law requires a little more — a "reasonable suspicion" — when the search is especially invasive, as when the human body is involved. Searching a computer, said Jennifer M. Chacón, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, "is fairly intrusive." Like searches of the body, she said, such "an invasive search should require reasonable suspicion." An interesting supporting brief filed in the Arnold case by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and the Electronic Frontier Foundation said there have to be some limits on the government's ability to acquire information. "Under the government's reasoning," the brief said, "border authorities could systematically collect all of the information contained on every laptop computer, BlackBerry and other electronic device carried across our national borders by every traveler, American or foreign." That is, the brief said, "simply electronic surveillance after the fact." The government went even further in the case of Sebastien Boucher, a Canadian who lives in New Hampshire. Mr. Boucher crossed the Canadian border by car about a year ago, and a customs agent noticed a laptop in the back seat. Asked whether he had child pornography on his laptop, Mr. Boucher said he was not sure. He said he downloaded a lot of pornography but deleted child pornography when he found it. Some of the files on Mr. Boucher's computer were encrypted using a program called Pretty Good Privacy, and Mr. Boucher helped the agent look at them, apparently by entering an encryption code. The agent said he saw lots of revolting pornography involving children. The government seized the laptop. But when it tried to open the encrypted files again, it could not. A grand jury instructed Mr. Boucher to provide the password. But a federal magistrate judge quashed that subpoena in November, saying that requiring Mr. Boucher to provide it would violate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Last week, the government appealed. The magistrate judge, Jerome J. Niedermeier of Federal District Court in Burlington, Vt., used an analogy from Supreme Court precedent. It is one thing to require a defendant to surrender a key to a safe and another to make him reveal its combination. The government can make you provide samples of your blood, handwriting and the sound of your voice. It can make you put on a shirt or stand in a lineup. But it cannot make you testify about facts or beliefs that may incriminate you, Judge Niedermeier said. "The core value of the Fifth Amendment is that you can't be made to speak in ways that indicate your guilt," Michael Froomkin, a law professor at the University of Miami, wrote about the Boucher case on his Discourse.net blog. But Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at the George Washington University, said Judge Niedermeier had probably gotten it wrong. "In a normal case," Professor Kerr said in an interview, "there would be a privilege." But given what Mr. Boucher had already done at the border, he said, making him provide the password again would probably not violate the Fifth Amendment. There are all sorts of lessons in these cases. One is that the border seems be a privacy-free zone. A second is that encryption programs work. A third is that you should keep your password to yourself. And the most important, as my wife keeps telling me, is that you should leave your laptop at home. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/07/us/07bar.html?ei=5090&en=d0caa6c9bacf76ed&ex=1357362000&adxnnl=1&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1199714806-NZ2agd4Kikkv8hShxGsvKg&pagewanted=print
Privacy

Submission + - Sears leaps into the spyware business (theregister.co.uk)

Gandalf_the_Beardy writes: The Register reports that Havard researcher Ben Edelman claims Sears Holding Corp — owners of Sears and Roebuck and of KMart has been tracking peoples online browsing after loading Sears provided software From the article "...Sears Holding Corporation, owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart, makes the pitch in an email sent to people shortly after they provide their address at Sears.com. Clicking the "Join" button invokes a dialog that requests the person's name, address and household size before installing ComScore spyware that monitors every site visited on the computer..." The alleged spyware's tracking activity was disclosed — on page 10 of a 54 page document. Sears alleges they have done nothing wrong saying the retailer "..goes to great lengths to describe the tracking aspect" of the software. He also claims a progress bar during the installation of the software gives users an easy way to back out if they change their mind..."
Biotech

Submission + - Larger human brain led to larger penis (pressesc.com) 2

Anonymous Coward writes: "The human penis is comparatively larger than that of the other great apes because of our comparatively larger brains, gynecologist Edwin A. Bowman explains in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. Through millions of years evolution the infant babies' skulls became larger in order to accommodate bigger brains, explained Dr. Bowman. This in turn led to a female pelvis become larger to allow women to give birth to children with larger brains, and this led to the female vagina also becoming less tight."
Education

Submission + - A Master's Degree in Intelligent Design (chron.com)

ParanoidDrunkard writes: "The Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research is seeking state approval to grant an online master's degree in science education to prepare teachers to "understand the universe within the integrating framework of Biblical creationism," according to the school's mission statement. Last week, an advisory council made up of university educators voted to recommend the program for approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, sparking an outcry among science advocates who have fended off attempts by religious groups to insert creationism into Texas classrooms. But students and faculty must profess faith in a literal translation of Biblical creation — that God created the world in six days and made humans and animals in their current life forms; that the Earth is only thousands of years old; and the fossil record is the result of a global flood described in the Bible, according to the Web site. Is this another attempt to validate intelligent design as a science?"
Government

Submission + - Guantanamo deleted detainee IDs from Wikipedia (ljsf.org) 1

James Hardine writes: The New York Times and The Inquirer are reporting that Wikileaks, the transparency group that published two manuals leaked from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba earlier this month has now caught US armed forces personnel there conducting propaganda attacks over the Internet. The activities uncovered by Wikileaks include deleting Guantanamo detainees' ID numbers from Wikipedia, posting of self-praising comments on news websites in response to negative articles, promoting pro-Guantanamo stories on the Internet news focus website Digg, and even altering Wikipedia's entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as "an admitted transexual". Guantanamo spokesman Lt. Col. Bush blasted Wikileaks for identifying one "mass communications officer" by name, who has since received death threats for "simply doing his job — posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo". In response Wikileaks has posted independent confirmation of their analysis by security expert Bruce Schneier.
Programming

Submission + - Is wasting time or goofing off "productive?

mlwmohawk writes: Now be honest, how many hours a "work day" do you spend surfing the net, talking with others, fiddling with computer settings, or just plain spacing out? Its a lot isn't it!

Now, do you think it is a necessary function of programming i.e. just a cost of business or is it just what it seems, goofing off?
Privacy

Submission + - Porn sites hold users hostage (yahoo.com)

Technical Writing Geek writes: "Now comes a scheme some researchers say amounts to extortion: One site's threat to disable visitors' computers with relentless pop-up ads if they don't pay for a subscription they were automatically signed up for after a free trial.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071128/ap_on_hi_te/tech_bits_porn_site_extortion;_ylt="

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