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IT

Activists Call For General Strike On the Tor Network (vice.com) 127

Reader derekmead writes: Some Tor users are very unhappy with the way the project has been run in recent months, and are calling for a blackout on September 1st. They are asking users to not use Tor, for developers to stop working on Tor, and for those who run parts of the network's infrastructure to shut it down. The disgruntled users feel that Tor can no longer be fully trusted after a brief hiring of an ex-CIA official and the internal sexual misconduct investigation against activist Jacob Appelbaum.
Security

Google Groups Used To Control Botnets 63

oDDmON oUT writes "'Maintaining a reliable command and control (C&C) structure is a priority for back door Trojan writers. ... Symantec has observed an interesting variation on this concept in the wild. A back door Trojan that we are calling Trojan.Grups has been using the Google Groups newsgroups to distribute commands,' writes Symantec employee Gavin O Gorman. He goes on to state that 'the Trojan itself is quite simple. It is distributed as a DLL,' and while the decrypted commands indicate it is used 'for reconnaissance and targeted attacks,' he does go on record as saying, 'It's worth noting that Google Groups is not at fault here; rather, it is a neutral party. The authors of this threat have chosen Google Groups simply for its bevy of features and versatility.'"
Music

Submission + - Danger Mouse Releases Album as Blank CD-R

blitzkrieg3 writes: The DJ's much anticipated album, "Dark Night of the Soul", may never see the light of day, do to a dispute with EMI It is a colaboration between artists Danger Mouse, Sparkle Horse, and David Lynch, among others. In an effort to promote the record, Danger Mouse is set to release the book of photos by David Lynch, along with a blank CD-R, presumably with the cover art. From the article:

An unnamed spokesperson for Danger Mouse says that "due to an ongoing dispute with EMI" the book of photographs will "now come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: 'For legal reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'"

NPR Music is also streaming the entire record, completly for free. Danger Mouse has previously entered questionable legal teritory with The Grey Album, a mashup of Jay-Z's Black Album and The Beatles White Album. EMI also blocked the release of that album.

Handhelds

"See-Through" Touchscreen Solves Fat Finger Problem 170

Urchin sends along a New Scientist writeup on Microsoft Research's nanoTouch prototype, a way of operating a touch screen from the rear (video here). The prototype will be presented at the Computer and Human Interaction conference in Boston, Mass., in April 2009. Coming soon to a wristwatch or neck pendant near you. "Electronic devices have been shrinking for years, but you might be forgiven for thinking that one that's only a centimeter across would be just too difficult to operate. Microsoft Research's new nanoTouch device suggests otherwise. Touch-screens are difficult to control with any precision — the fingers get in the way of the tiny targets you're trying to hit. But putting the touch interface on the rear of the screen instead gives users more precision because they can still see the whole screen as they interact with it. Microsoft Research has produced a prototype device called nanoTouch with a rear-mounted touch interface. User tests show it lets users accurately and reliably hit targets just 2 millimeters across on a screen under a centimeter across."
Space

Molecular Basis for Life Found on Extrasolar Planet 89

DarkProphet writes "NASA scientists have discovered the first evidence of organic molecules on an extrasolar planet. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, they detected trace amounts of methane on a swirling gas giant about 63 light-years from our own planet. Being a gas giant, there's almost no chance this discovery represents extrasolar life. A unique find, just the same. 'HD 189733b, a so-called "hot Jupiter," located 63 light years away, has proven a boon for scientists studying exoplanets. Its large size and proximity to its star mean that it dims the star's light more than any other known exoplanet. Combine that with its home star's high brightness, and scientists find that the system creates the best viewing conditions of any known extrasolar system. At different wavelengths, every atom and molecule has its own telltale footprint, so scientists can convert what are known as absorption spectra into the chemical composition of the object they're looking at.'"

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