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Submission + - Microsoft tries to strong-arm Florida senators

lisah writes: "Microsoft apparently took issue with a bill on the floor of the Florida senate and sent three lobbyists to persuade Senators to change its wording before it is signed. As chair of the House Committee on Audit & Performance, Rep. Ed Homan saw an opportunity to save taxpayers some money by exploring open source solutions as the state prepares to upgrade the computers and software at the Department of Health. He inserted some language to that effect into bill 1974 before it got to its first committee approval, but Microsoft started pressuring senators almost immediately to have it removed. From the article, '...within 24 hours three Microsoft-paid lobbyists, all wearing black suits, were pressuring members of the Senate Committee on Governmental Operations (COGO) to remove the words they didn't like.""

Submission + - Browser based cryptography is coming of age

Marco Barulli writes: "A Javascript library of cryptographic primitives has been recently released by Clipperz under a BSD license. The Clipperz Crypto Library presently includes the following algorithms: SRP authentication protocol, SHA2 hash functions, AES symmetric encryption and Fortuna PRNG. Clipperz launched an online password manager to promote the "zero-knowledge" paradigm for web applications. A new breed of web apps where the provider is simply in charge of delivering the Ajax application to the user's browser and then storing user's data in an encrypted form on its servers. Users can submit confidential information into their browsers, but data are locally encrypted by the browser itself before being uploaded. This paradigm could be used for a wide range of applications: a personal finance manager, a confidential to-do list, patient records for physicians, ... Is the world ready for browser based cryptography? Can we trust "zero-knowledge" applications?"

NASA Probe Validates Einstein Within 1% 188

An anonymous reader writes "Gravity Probe B uses four ultra-precise gyroscopes to measure two effects of Einstein's general relativity theory — the geodetic effect and frame dragging. According to the mission's principal investigator, the data from Gravity Probe B's gyroscopes confirm the Einstein theory's value for the geodetic effect to better than 1%. In a common analogy, the geodetic effect is similar to the shape of the dip created when the ball is placed on to a rubber sheet. If the ball is then rotated, it will start to drag the rubber sheet around with it. In a similar way, the Earth drags local space and time around with it — ever so slightly — as it rotates. Over time, these effects cause the angle of spin of the satellite's gyroscopes to shift by tiny amounts." The investigators will be doing further data analysis over the coming months and expect to release final results late this year.

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