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Submission + - NSA Chief Keith Alexander Takes His PRISM Pitch to YouTube (

Daniel_Stuckey writes: There’s definitely something goofy about the video’s wan attempt at looking/sounding like a NOVA episode (the music, why?), but even moreso, Keith Alexander, director of the NSA and commander of US Cyber Command, comes off as a weird dude and, you know, a literal tool. Alexander, who defended the agency at Black Hat this summer and recently announced his retirement next year, takes care to emphasize the agency's privacy compliance precautions and oversight. "We have not had any willful or knowing violations in those programs," he says referring to sections 215 and 702 of the Patriot Act, which relate to the telephone metadata and PRISM programs respectively. "There have been [violations] in other programs, but not in those two."

Submission + - ATI takes crown away from Nvidia for almost half the price as fastest GPU (

Billly Gates writes: AMD may have trouble in their CPU department with Intel having superior fabrication plants. However, in the graphics market with GPU chips AMD is on fire! AMD earned a very rare Elite reward from Tomshardware as the fastest GPU available with its fastest r9 for as little as $550 each. NVidia has its top end GPU cards going for $1,000 as it had little competition to worry about. Maximum PC also included some benchmarks and crowned ATI as the fastest and best value card available. AMD/ATI also has introduced MANTLE Api for lower level access than DirectX which is cross platform. This may turn into a very important API as AMD/ATI have their GPUs in the next generation Sony and Xbox consoles as well with a large marketshare for game developers to target

Submission + - My data is bigger than yours. Analyzing the fragility of BigData with N. Taleb (

DyslexicAtheist writes: Can organizations become "Antifragile" by implementing a BigData strategy? I have been wondering about this for a while. In fact one of the first things that came to mind when starting to read "Antifragility" was that every DataScientist should read this book so that he can derive the right conclusion when implementing a model. However, the further I look into it, the more I'm convinced that BigData will never live up to the hype and indeed in the hands of our "dear leaders" is a very bad idea for both liberties and freedom. What's slashdot's opinion on it?

Submission + - NSA Declares War on President (

pupsocket writes: U. S. citizens can stop pretending that their secret agencies exist to provide deniability to the President. Yesterday the German newspaper of record, Frankfurter Allgemeine, reported that the President told German Chancellor Merkel that he would have stopped the tap on her phone had he known about it. Today, another German paper, Bild am Sonntag, quoted U. S. Intelligence sources that the President had been briefed in 2010. This violation of secrecy should end the myth that the White House tells the secret agencies what they can and cannot do. Sounds like blackmail, the endgame.

Submission + - Police Departments Work to Expand Capability to "Shut Down" Social Media (

schwit1 writes: Workshops held by and for top police executives from throughout the world and widely available from vendors, were technologies and department policies that allow agencies to block content, users, and even devices – for example, “Geofencing” software that allows departments to block service to a specified device when the device leaves an established virtual geographic perimeter. The capability is a basic function of advanced mobile technologies like smartphones, “OnStar” type features that link drivers through GIS to central assistance centers, and automated infrastructure and other hardware including unmanned aerial systems that must “sense and respond.”

A senior police officer from the Chicago PD told a panel on Monday that his department was working with Facebook’s security chief to block users’ from the site by account (person), IP, and device (he did not say if by UUID or MAC address or other means of hardware ID) if it is determined they have posted what is deemed criminal content.

Submission + - I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found out is chilling 3

An anonymous reader writes: In 1999 while writing for Forbes, Adam Penenberg wanted to see how easy it would be for hackers to access his family's bank account information, social security numbers, and online passwords. Now, in 2013, with more of our data than ever at the fingertips of nefarious operators, Penenberg is at it again, asking a group of "white-hat" hackers how easy it would be to hack his and his wife's lives.

What he found is that if someone is determined and savvy enough to access your private information, there's a good chance that person will be successful. Using a combination of phishing emails, mal-ware, and old school surveillance tactics, the team at SpiderLabs was able to take over his laptop and iPhone, and gain access to his personal bank information and online passwords.

Submission + - Vaccine Could Protect Soldiers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults, including soldiers and victims of crimes, accidents, or natural disasters. About 40 to 50 percent of patients recover within five years but the rest never get better. Now Discovery Magazine reports that medical researchers say they have discovered a possible “vaccine” for post-traumatic stress disorder that could protect soldiers serving in war by regulating ghrelin, a hormone produced during stressful situations, that primes the brain for PTSD. “You would get a shot, and for a year it would lower your ghrelin levels,” says Ki Gossens, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, and lead author of the paper in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. “When you were deployed and exposed to the stress of combat, your ghrelin levels would go up and the vaccine would combat that. That should reduce the incidence of PTSD." Gossens says that ghrelin operates alongside the brain’s other “fight or flight” neurochemical system, which is controlled by the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. That signaling route is known as the hypothalamus-pituatary-adrenal pathway, or HPA. “What we are suggesting is that the ghrelin pathway operates in parallel,” Gossens said. “We think the emotional disorders (such as PTSD) following trauma exposure are the result of elevated ghrelin rather than HPA." Gossens believes that since many ghrelin-related anti-obesity drugs have already passed federal human safety trials, it would give them a leg up on developing some kind of vaccine for PTSD.

Submission + - Budgetary meltdon leads us to revisit open source governance

An anonymous reader writes: The Congress of the United States has not (as constitutionally mandated) passed a budget since 2009... some would say not since 1997. Yet most of us still hold to the myth that a "democratic republic" prevents the perils of a real democracy. It is time we revisited the concept of open source governance. What if we forsook not just representation, but also majority rule? What if we used the principles of open source and built a form of consensus governance? Not possible? Think again. And remember, the alternative is the status quo... do you want to defend that?

Submission + - NASAs Curiosity Confirms Origins of Martian Meteorites (

littlesparkvt writes: Earth’s most eminent emissary to Mars has just proven that those rare Martian visitors that sometimes drop in on Earth — a.k.a. Martian meteorites — really are from the Red Planet. A key new measurement of Mars’ atmosphere by NASA’s Curiosity rover provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origins of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origins of other meteorites.

Submission + - Irish government close Apple's tax loophole (

DavidGilbert99 writes: Ireland and particularly its tax system came under some extreme scrutiny earlier this year when it was revealed that Apple funnelled billions of dollars of revenue though three subsidiaries based on the island. Thanks to a loophole none of these subsidiaries were tax-resident in Ireland, meaning they didn't even have to pay Ireland's relatively low 12.5% corporation tax rate. Worryingly for Apple, Ireland's finance minister has just shut this loophole.

Submission + - Architecture Analysis & Design Languge: The Initial Foundations (

heidibrayer writes: When life- and safety-critical systems fail (and this happens in many domains), the results can be dire, including loss of property and life. These types of systems are increasingly prevalent, and can be found in the altitude and control systems of a satellite, the software-reliant systems of a car (such as its cruise control and anti-lock braking system), or medical devices that emit radiation. When developing such systems, software and systems architects must balance the need for stability and safety with stakeholder demands and time-to-market constraints.

Submission + - How to Develop Unmaintainable Software

jones_supa writes: Greg Jorgensen specializes in debugging, fixing, maintaining, and extending legacy software systems. His typical client has a web site or internal application that works, more or less, but the original developer isn’t available. Greg lists some things you can do in your own software projects to keep him in business. In summary, the list goes as follows. Customize your development environment a lot, don’t make it easy for the next programmer to start working on the code. Create an elaborate build and deployment environment and remember to leave out the documentation. Don’t bother with a testing/staging server but instead have secret logins and backdoor URLs to test new features, and mix test data with real data in your database. Don’t bother with a well-understood framework, write everything from scratch instead. Add dependencies to specific versions of libraries and resources, but don't protect or document those dependencies. For the icing of the cake, use the coolest mix of cutting-edge programming languages.

Submission + - China's State Press Calls for 'Building a de-Americanized World'

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Businessweek reports that as nations around the world fret over the US budget impasse according to a not-so-subtle commentary published by China’s official Xinhua News Agency "it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world". Key among its proposals: the creation of a new international reserve currency to replace the present reliance on US dollars, a necessary step to prevent American bumbling from further afflicting the world. “The cyclical stagnation in Washington for a viable bipartisan solution over a federal budget and an approval for raising the debt ceiling has again left many nations’ tremendous dollar assets in jeopardy and the international community highly agonized,” says Xinhua. “The world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites." The commentary calls for a greater role for developing-market economies in both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and adds that “the authority of the United Nations in handling global hot-spot issues has to be recognized. That means no one has the right to wage any form of military action against others without a UN mandate." The commentary concludes that "the purpose of promoting these changes is not to completely toss the United States aside, which is also impossible. Rather, it is to encourage Washington to play a much more constructive role in addressing global affairs."

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