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Scientists Identify Head of France's King Henry IV Screenshot-sm 64

JThaddeus writes "The Associated Press reports that 'After nine months of tests, researchers in France have identified the head of France's King Henry IV.' Henry was assassinated in 1610, and his head has been missing. His body was dug up and decapitated during the French Revolution. Researchers found features similar to those in royal portraits, and radiocarbon dating confirms that the head dates to the 17th Century. Interestingly, 'Perfumers on the team used their professionally trained noses to identify specific embalming substances in the mouth used to hide nasty odors.' The results have been published an online medical journal."

Submission + - Bank of the Clueless

jcomeau_ictx writes: Bank of Internet has for years limited passwords to 8 alphanumerics, but over the next few days they will open their members' accounts up to anyone with the last 4 letters of their Social Security number: ex-partners, family, and any of thousands of employees of banks, credit unions, and online and offline businesses which have requested it over the course of an average life. Here is the communication sent out today:

Bank of Internet USA is upgrading our online solutions for Online Banking this weekend. The Bank is making this change to ensure we provide you with an Online Banking experience so impactful, you will not be able to imagine banking any other way. In preparation for the launch, there is some important information you need to know:

Launch Date: December 11, 2010. The conversion time frame will be from December 9, 2010 to December 11, 2010. Logging in to Online Banking on December 11, 2010 or thereafter. You will use the same Online Banking ID as you did prior to December 11th. The first time you log in only, your Password will be the last 4-digits of your Social Security Number. You will be prompted to change your password to one of your choosing immediately upon logging in.

This doesn't mean I'll stop doing business with them; they still have better customer service than any other bank I've ever dealt with. I just won't keep anything more than a few hundred in there until they take security a little more seriously.


Submission + - Researchers build self-healing plastic (

schliz writes: Watch out for T-1000s (Terminator) — Arizona State researchers have developed a "self-healing" polymer that uses a fibre optic "nervous system" to detect and fix cracks. The system recovers up to 96 percent of an object's original strength in laboratory tests and will likely be used in "large-scale composite structures for which human intervention would be difficult", such as wind turbines, satellites, aircraft and the Mars Rover.
The Internet

Like Democracy, the Web Needs To Be Defended 108

climenole tips a great article by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in Scientific American. Quoting: "The Web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on egalitarian principles and because thousands of individuals, universities and companies have worked, both independently and together as part of the World Wide Web Consortium, to expand its capabilities based on those principles. The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments — totalitarian and democratic alike — are monitoring people's online habits, endangering important human rights. If we, the Web's users, allow these and other trends to proceed unchecked, the Web could be broken into fragmented islands. We could lose the freedom to connect with whichever Web sites we want."

Submission + - The problem with the Top500 supercomputer list (

angry tapir writes: "Like Hollywood's Academy Awards, the Top500 list of supercomputers is dutifully watched by high-performance computing (HPC) participants and observers, even as they vocally doubt its fidelity to excellence. Many question the use of a single metric — Linpack — to rank the performance of something as mind-bogglingly complex as a supercomputer. During one panel at the SC2010 conference this week in New Orleans, one high-performance-computing vendor executive joked about stringing together 100,000 Android smartphones to get the largest Linpack number, thereby revealing the "stupidity" of Linpack. While grumbling about Linpack is nothing new, the discontent was pronounced this year as more systems, such as the Tianhe-1A, used GPUs (graphics processing units) to boost Linpack ratings, in effect gaming the Top500 list."

Proposed Final ACTA Text Published 148

ciaran_o_riordan writes "The US Trade Representative has published a text which, subject only to a last legal review, is proposed to be the final text of ACTA. The differences between this text and last month's, from the Tokyo round, are mostly cosmetic but there's an important positive change giving signatories the option of excluding patents from section 2. As for software patents, most harm has been avoided. If signatories make use of the section 2 exclusion option, there might be no harm at all. Lobbying for this will be important. Meanwhile, the many problems regarding Digital Restrictions Management, and the extra powers given to businesses to obtain personal and identifying information about accused copyright infringers "in the Digital Environment" are still there (mostly section 5). Earlier texts were much worse. The improvements in recent months are surely due to public outcry, leaving us indebted to the anonymous friends who scanned and leaked the various secret versions and the activists who made text versions and spread them across the Internet. There's a chance we can still influence the text in this legal review phase, but the bigger task ahead will be working on the national implementations. It's not yet clear what procedure the US will require for its own ratification."

National Opt-Out Day Against Virtual Strip Searches 647

An anonymous reader writes in about a protest called for the busiest airline travel day of the year. "An activist opposed to the new invasive body scanners in use at airports around the country just designated Wednesday, Nov. 24 as a National Opt-Out Day. He's encouraging airline passengers to decline the TSA's technological strip searches en masse on that day as a protest against the scanners, as well as the new 'enhanced pat-downs' inflicted on refuseniks. 'The goal of National Opt-Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change,' reads the call to action at, set up by Brian Sodegren. 'No naked body scanners, no government-approved groping. We have a right to privacy, and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we're guilty until proven innocent.' The US Airline Pilots Association and other pilot groups have urged their members to avoid the scanners and have also condemned the new pat-down policy as humiliating to pilots. They've advised pilots who don't feel comfortable undergoing pat-downs in front of passengers to request they be conducted in a private room. Any pilots who don't feel comfortable after undergoing a pat-down have been encouraged to 'call in sick and remove themselves from the trip.'"

Submission + - Fatal Online & Offline Journalism in Russia (

reporter writes: With the recent attempted murder of Oleg Kashin, we should examine the recent history of fatal journalism in and around Russia. A summary of the recent bloody history of Russian journalism appears at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and was written by Fatima Tlisova.

Freedom of the press and the safety of journalists should have special meaning for Slashdot and its many readers, for freedom of the press is the very reason that Slashdot can exist in the West. What can Slashdotters do to help journalists in and around Russia?


Apache Declares War On Oracle Over Java 428

jfruhlinger writes "The Apache Software Foundation, feeling increasingly marginalized as Oracle asserts its control over the Java platform, is fighting back, trying to rally fellow members of the Java Community Process to block the next version of the language if Oracle doesn't make it available under an open license amenable to Apache. Last month's Oracle-IBM pact was a blow against the ASF, which had worked with IBM in the past, but it appears that Apache isn't giving up the fight."

Submission + - GOP plans climate-scientist witch hunt (

An anonymous reader writes: Quoting from TFA: "Reporting from Washington — If the GOP wins control of the House next week, senior congressional Republicans plan to launch a blistering attack on the Obama administration's environmental policies, as well as on scientists who link air pollution to climate change." Apparently the Republican party is planning on using House committees as kangaroo courts to go after scientists whose work on understanding the earth's climate (at least to start — after all, why stop there?) offends their ideology. McCarthyism, anyone?

Submission + - Paranoid Britain Tops US To Become #1 Police State

nandemoari writes: Britain and the U.S. use similar tactics fighting 'terrorism,' but Britain has taken the delusions to a new level: it now appears that the British have surpassed U.S. in becoming a police state. We've reported on Britain's super database, remote PC searching and the warnings issued over the egregious surveillance techniques, but there are still other facts to be examined such as spying on domestic extremists and political dissenters, and a new law — Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act. Under this new law, anyone taking a photograph of a police officer in the U.K. could be deemed to have committed a criminal offense.

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I'm still waiting for the advent of the computer science groupie.