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Submission + - What use is a Math Major? What do they do? 3

argStyopa writes: I have a college sophomore who has declared himself a Math major; what does that really mean for his future? I'm hoping Slashdotters can explain what they do in Real Life. With the rise of 'big data', and the growing importance of encryption, it appears to be a good, long-term career path. Is Math (alone) that valuable, or is it actually Math in conjunction with other fields? Math + CompSci, Math + Physics, or Math + Statistics, etc.? What sort of an internship would a not-yet-completed Math major even seek?

Submission + - So what do I really own? 5

argStyopa writes: I had an ample collection of DVDs, CDs, etc that all were destroyed in an apartment fire. Now, as I understand, according to the MPAA/RIAA I didn't actually own that media (and was not entitled to make digital copies) but merely a permission 'license' to view/listen to it.
Now that the physical media is destroyed, does that mean I am legally within my rights to download a copy from some online source? It would seem a double-standard to assert that the 'physical media is meaningless'...unless its destroyed, at which point it means you lose your rights to what you purchased.
IANAL (and I know most of you aren't either) but I'm curious if anyone knows about established precedent in this circumstance?

Submission + - Target also lost personal data, emails, names, addresses

argStyopa writes: Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel just sent out a letter advising Target customers:

Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken. I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion.

So not only are CC# and PINs 'in the wild' but personal data as well. As the letter goes on to note: "...Here are some tips that will help protect you: Never share information with anyone over the phone, email or text, even if they claim to be someone you know or do business with. Instead, ask for a call-back number...." "Anyone" apparently including Target. I wonder if this will encourage Mr. Steinhafel to have his cashiers stop asking for email addresses etc. at the point of sale as well?

Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Kickstarter breathes new life into non-computer RPG's ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Looking at the pages of Kickstarter now I see a lot of Role-Playing Games being done — these are not your computer based games, but the old style Pen, Paper and Dice ones. As the world changes into the more computer-centric games world (even classic board games are getting the digital treatment) it's good that the old tabletop-style games are still popular and have a way of being funded via Indie methods.

The art of gaming without pixels is something that should never be lost — mainly because it's all in the head of the players and therefore helps with social interaction, communication and imagination. Whereas computer-based RPGs (and FPS's) present the player with everything that the designer wanted them to see — there is no way for the player to ask about something that is not on the screen.

What do other 'older' gamers think about how the RPG industry is going? Should we support the newer paper RPG's or continue down the digital route?


Submission + - Indie Low-Budget Sci-fi Short Combines Miniatures With CGI ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: The filmmakers behind Indie Kickstarter-funded sci-fi short HENRi chose to photograph the film practically with miniature sets and rod-puppetry, as opposed to relying solely on CG animation, to create the uniquely visual world from the script. NoFilmSchool writes: "The film is a unique blend of traditional miniature and puppetry effects alongside more modern motion-reference animation, and the results are simply stunning.” The film’s director, Eli Sasich, explains in an article for Filmmaker Magazine, "The concept of using quarter-scale miniatures to create HENRi was initially born out of necessity – but I also wanted to use the technique because that’s how the classics were made.” In addition to the effects, HENRi pays homage to classic science fiction in another way – it stars sci-fi legend Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey) in the title role. The trailer and film are available now on the film's official website.

Submission + - Supreme Court Rules Warrantless GPS Tracking Uncon (

smashr writes: Today the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in United States v. Jones, finding that the government was not permitted to install a GPS tracking device on a vehicle without a warrant. While the opinion was unanimous, the justices disagreed as to the reasoning. The majority opinion created a new test for 4th amendment violations — the tespassory test and focused only on the actual installation of the device. A separate, minority opinion, advocated going much further and ruling that such tracking itself was an unreasonable search, regardless of the device. Additional recap at Ars Technica.

Submission + - Anonymous Creating Megavideo and Megaupload Altern (

An anonymous reader writes: Anonymous, the group who retaliated against the United States Government for bringing down file-sharing websites Megaupload and Megavideo by hacking the websites of the MPAA, RIAA and the Department of Justice, is once again taking matters into their own hands and creating a Megaupload and Megavideo alternative of their own.

The website,, was registered on Monday to a P.O. box in Sunnydale, Calif. to an "Adrian Jesson," though Anonymous says that the domain registration will change to a Russian host. "For your safety, our infrastructure will be out of the U.S. jurisdiction


Submission + - Joint Russian/NASA Moon Colony in the Works (

milbournosphere writes: Russia and NASA are reportedly in talks to create a colony on the moon. They're looking to create either a base on the moon itself or a permanent space station in orbit around the moon.
"We don’t want the man to just step on the Moon,” agency chief Vladimir Popovkin said in an interview with Vesti FM radio station. “Today, we know enough about it. We know that there is water in its polar areas," he added. "We are now discussing how to begin [the Moon’s] exploration with NASA and the European Space Agency."


Submission + - College Discovers 12-Year-Old Virus Infection (

itwbennett writes: "The City College of San Francisco discovered a virus just after Thanksgiving that leads back through at least seven variants to an original infection in 1999. In the dozen years since, the virus may have pilfered the personal banking and financial data of 100,000 students and staff. 'We looked in the system and discovered these things were all over the place,' John Rizzo, president of the college's Board of Trustees, told the AP. Apparently to blame is a school culture that requires students to access porn sites to complete homework assignments while also not requiring anyone to change passwords."

Submission + - Spanish Extremadura Moving 40,000 Desktops to Linu (

jrepin writes: "The administration of Spain’s autonomous region of Extremadura is moving to a complete open source desktop, confirms the region's CIO, Teodomiro Cayetano López. The IT department started a project to install the Debian distribution on all 40,000 desktop PCs. "The project is really advanced and we hope to start the deployment the next spring, finishing it in December." The project makes it Europe's second largest open source desktop migration, between the French Gendarmerie (90,000 desktops) and the German city of Munich (14,000 desktops)."

Submission + - Boris bares data bunker (

An anonymous reader writes: Efforts to open up datasets held by public bodies will receive a big boost today, with Boris Johnson announcing he will publish reams of crime, education, environmental and health information from London's archives.

Some 200 local authority and City Hall datasets will be made available via the "London Datastore", a new website launching 29 January.


Submission + - Google’s Book Scanning Technology Revealed (

blee37 writes: Google's patent for a rapid book scanning system was reported last March. This article describes and provides pictures of how the system works in practice. Google is secretive, but the system's inner workings were apparently divulged by University of Tokyo researchers who wrote a research article on essentially identical technology. There is also information about how Google wants to use music to help humans flip pages and videos of robotic page flippers.

Submission + - Flying Quadricopter Controlled by iPhone (

tetrahedrassface writes: A cool quadricopter was debuted at CES that is controlled by iPhones or an iPod Touch. The carbon fiber and plastic craft is controlled by accelerometers and runs an embedded flavor of Linux. From the article: 'The AR.Drone has a top speed rating of about 11 mph and weighs 12.7 ounces without the protective hull and 14.1 ounces with it. The unit runs on a necessarily lightweight, three-cell, 1,000 mAh lithium polymer battery. It has a 15-frame-per-second (fps) front camera as well as a high-speed (60fps) vertical camera that looks straight down. The four 15-watt rotors spin as fast as 1,500rpm.' Cooked up by the bluetooth firm Parot, it will be available later this year.

Submission + - Oldest Known Tetrapod Found (

qazsedcft writes: The oldest footprints ever made by four-legged creatures have been discovered by scientists, forcing them to reconsider a critical period in evolution: the point at which fish crawled out of the water onto land to evolve into reptiles, mammals and eventually humans. The "hand" and "foot" prints are 18m years older than the earliest, previously confirmed fossil remains of "tetrapods" or four-legged vertebrates and were left by lizard-like creatures up to 2.5 metres long. The discovery, reported in tomorrow's issue of the journal Nature, was made in a former quarry in the Holy Cross Mountains in south-eastern Poland. The fossil footprints can be reliably dated to the early Middle Devonian period, around 395 million years ago.

Submission + - Passport RFID security

Styopa writes: So I've gotten the shiny new RFID passport issued by the US gov't. The government insists it's secure. Hypothesizing that perhaps the government might not be right in this case, is there any homebuilt method of shielding it? Would carrying it wrapped in a layer of alu-foil do anything except make me look like a paranoid at the airport (not that I mind, but I don't want to do that if it's not really going to improve security significantly)? Would the gauge of foil matter? My understanding is that the passport books already include this in their covers/spine, and examining the edge, it DOES seem that there are front/back cover plates laminated in there, but I don't see anything at the spine. I'd rather not have to go buy a Faraday-case of dubious efficacy from a commercial source. Thanks for any advice /. can offer.

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