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Submission + - The Music Industry's New War Is About So Much More Than Copyright (fastcompany.com)

tedlistens writes: Last month, Taylor Swift, U2, and around 180 other artists signed a letter calling on US lawmakers to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, or DMCA, which it said allowed "major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits” while leaving artists underpaid. (Though YouTube isn't mentioned by name, it's obvious to which "major tech companies” the letter is referring.) Still, while complaining (or hearing complaints) about low revenues from digital music has become as much a rock & roll cliche as devil horns or dying young, a deeper read of the industry's latest campaign against Silicon Valley “greed” (and 8 helpful charts) reveals that this "war" on online streaming is more complex than it seems: in spite of its efforts at a subscription service, YouTube's ad-based royalties remain a major issue. And untangling it is more important than ever: as it seeps again into the halls of Congress, the debate could impact copyright, online ads, and the future of making and listening to music.

Submission + - SPAM: Use Hypnotism to Make Your Kids Behave?

kheldan writes: Apparently someone thinks hypnotizing kids to make them do their homework, chores, and otherwise 'behave' is a good idea. Lisa Machenberg, a professional hypnotist, has been using this on over 1000 kids in the last 23 years. “I hypnotize my children and my husband to do things for my benefit all the time,” she says.

But hypnosis can have serious side effects, including tiredness, crisis of identity, insomnia, irritability, fears, panic attacks, deficit of attention, distorted sense of self, confusion, sexually abberant behaviors, unexpected trance-like state, delusional thinking, depression, dizziness, syncope, fearfulness, feelings of guilt, histrionic reactions, impaired memory, nausea, obsessions, changes in personality.

Panacea, or child abuse? You be the judge.

Submission + - Ransomware Wreaks Havoc in the Cloud (lmgsecurity.com)

rye writes: Today, researchers at LMG Security released a video of the "Jigsaw" ransomware spreading across the "HackMe, Inc." corporate network in their "Play Lab," starting with the very first click on a phishing email, all the way to the encryption of HackMe, Inc's cloud repository. Watch as the ransomware spreads to the company's networked file share and OneDrive cloud repository. A perfectly creepy "Billy the Puppet" head pops up as the ransom note is printed in green letters across the desktop.

Want your colleagues or management to understand the true potential damage of ransomware? Just show them this video. Then, unplug your network cable, crawl under your desk and hide.

"What does it actually LOOK like when ransomware encrypts all the files on an employee workstation and then moves on to encrypt your company’s file share, and even cloud-based documents?"

Submission + - How (and why) FreeDOS keeps DOS alive (computerworld.com.au)

angry tapir writes: In August it will be 35 years since of the release of version 1.0 of MS-DOS (or PC DOS as it was known at the time). Despite MS-DOS being long dead, the FreeDOS community has kept DOS alive, with the open source project having been founded some 22 years ago. I caught up with the founder of the project about the plans for the next version of FreeDOS and what keeps the open source OS alive.

Submission + - SPAM: Has Physics Gotten Something Really Important Really Wrong?

schwit1 writes: Some researchers now see popular ideas like string theory and the multiverse as highly suspect. These physicists feel our study of the cosmos has been taken too far from what data can constrain with the extra "hidden" dimensions of string theory and the unobservable other universes of the multiverse. Of course, there are many scientists who continue to see great promise in string theory and the multiverse. But, as Marcelo and I wrote in The New York Times last year, it all adds up to muddied waters and something some researchers see as a "crisis in physics."

Smolin and Unger believe this crisis is real — and it's acute. They pull no punches in their sense that the lack of empirical data has led the field astray. As they put it:

"Science is corrupted when it abandons the discipline of empirical validation or dis-confirmation. It is also weakened when it mistakes its assumptions for facts and its ready-made philosophy for the way things are."

Thus, the goal of The Singular Universe and The Reality of Time is to take a giant philosophical step back and see if a new and more promising direction can be found. For the two thinkers, such a new direction can be spelled out in three bold claims about the world.

  1. There is only one universe
  2. Time is real
  3. Mathematics is selectively real

Taken together, these three claims constitute a significant departure from mainstream ideas in physics. But their most important consequence is that nothing, not even the laws of physics, live above time. The universe is time-bound and time-saturated. Thus, there is no eternal reality of perfect mathematical form. Even the laws of physics themselves must be subject to change. That is the most radical of Unger and Smolin's radical ideas.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Tata's Buffalo office, Clinton's 'brainchild,' since closed (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: In 2003, Tata Consultancy Services, a large India-based outsourcing firm, opened an office Buffalo office, which it described as then Sen. Hillary Clinton's "brainchild." At the announcement Clinton said, "TCS could have located anywhere in the country. I am proud but not surprised that they chose Buffalo." It became a talking point for Clinton in her defense of offshore outsourcing. "Well, of course I know that they outsource jobs, that they've actually brought jobs to Buffalo," said Clinton to Lou Dobbs, then at CNN, in a 2004 interview. "They've created 10 jobs in Buffalo and have told me and the Buffalo community that they intend to be a source of new jobs in the area, because, you know, outsourcing does work both ways." But Tata has since closed that office, and with it, Clinton's example that outsourcing works both ways.

Submission + - Indian Student Jailed for Cheating on Exams

HughPickens.com writes: BBC reports that Ruby Rai, a 17-year-old schoolgirl in India, has been thrown in jail after cheating on her exams. Ranked first in the Bihar state exams — Rai said in a video interview that her main subject political science was about cooking. After the video went viral, Rai was made to re-sit her exams, and was arrested after she failed and had her original results cancelled. Examiners who retested Rai told reporters they were "shocked" by her performance. When asked to write an essay about the Indian poet Tulsidas, she only wrote "Tulsidas ji pranam (Salutations to Tulsidas)". Meanwhile, arrest warrants have been issued for several other students who performed well in the exams, including Saurabh Shrestha who topped the science stream, but later could not say that H2O was water. Last March as many as 300 people were arrested for cheating in Bihar after the Hindustan Times published images of dozens of men climbing the walls of a test center to pass answers inside.

Submission + - As It Searches for Suspects, the FBI May Be Looking at You (technologyreview.com)

schwit1 writes: The FBI has access to nearly 412 million photos in its facial recognition system—perhaps including the one on your driver's license. But according to a new government watchdog report, the bureau doesn't know how error-prone the system is, or whether it enhances or hinders investigations.

Since 2011, the bureau has quietly been using this system to compare new images, such as those taken from surveillance cameras, against a large set of photos to look for a match. That set of existing images is not limited to the FBI's own database, which includes some 30 million photos. The bureau also has access to face recognition systems used by law enforcement agencies in 16 different states, and it can tap into databases from the Department of State and the Department of Defense. And it is in negotiations with 18 other states to be able to search their databases, too.

Adding to the privacy concerns is another finding in the GAO report: that the FBI has not properly determined how often its system makes errors and has not “taken steps to determine whether face recognition systems used by external partners, such as states and federal agencies, are sufficiently accurate” to support investigations.

Submission + - Interview With a Craigslist Scammer

snydeq writes: Ever wonder what motivates people who swindle others on Craigslist? Roger Grimes did, so he set up a fake Harley Davidson ad on Craigslist, and requested an interview with each scammer who replied to the ad. One agreed, and the man's answers shed light on the inner world of Craiglist scamming: 'If you mean how often I make money from Craigslist, it depends on the day or week. Many weeks I make nothing. Some weeks I can get five people sending me money. But I respond to a lot of ads to get one email back. I’m not only doing Craigslist — there are many similar places. I haven’t counted, but many. It takes many emails to get paid. That’s what I mean. Some weeks I lose money. It’s harder than most people think. But I don’t have to go into a place at a certain time and deal with bosses and customers. I can make my own time.'

Submission + - Bigger Isn't Better as Mega-Ships Get Too Big and Too Risky

HughPickens.com writes: Alan Minter writes at Bloomberg that between 1955 and 1975, the average volume of a container ship doubled — and then doubled again over each of the next two decades. The logic behind building such giants was once unimpeachable: Globalization seemed like an unstoppable force, and those who could exploit economies of scale could reap outsized profits. But it is looking more and more like the economies of scale for mega-ships are not worth the risk. The quarter-mile-long Benjamin Franklin recently became the largest cargo ship ever to dock at a U.S. port and five more mega-vessels are supposed to follow. But today's largest container vessels can cost $200 million and carry many thousands of containers — potentially creating $1 billion in concentrated, floating risk that can only dock at a handful of the world's biggest ports. Mega-ships make prime targets for cyberattacks and terrorism, suffer from a dearth of qualified personnel to operate them, and are subject to huge insurance premiums.

But the biggest costs associated with these floating behemoths are on land — at the ports that are scrambling to accommodate them. New cranes, taller bridges, environmentally perilous dredging, and even wholesale reconfiguration of container yards are just some of the costly disruptions that might be needed to receive a Benjamin Franklin and service it efficiently. Under such circumstances, you'd think that ship owners would start to steer clear of big boats. But, fearful of falling behind the competition and hoping to put smaller operators out of business, they're actually doing the opposite. Global capacity will increase by 4.5 percent this year "Sooner or later, even the biggest operators will have to accept that the era of super-sized shipping has begun to list," concludes Minter. " With global growth and trade still sluggish, and the benefits of sailing and docking big boats diminishing with each new generation, ship owners are belatedly realizing that bigger isn't better."

Submission + - Hypervisor Wiretap Feature Can Leak Data From The Cloud (helpnetsecurity.com)

Orome1 writes: Bitdefender has discovered that encrypted communications can be decrypted in real-time using a technique that has virtually zero footprint and is invisible to anyone except extremely careful security auditors. The technique, dubbed TeLeScope, has been developed for research purposes and proves that a third-party can eavesdrop on communications encrypted with the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol between an end-user and a virtualised instance of a server.

Submission + - Employers Struggle to Find Workers Who Can Pass a Drug Test

HughPickens.com writes: Jackie Calmes writes in the NYT that all over the country, employers say they see a disturbing downside of tighter labor markets as they try to rebuild from the worst recession since the Depression: the struggle to find workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test. The hurdle partly stems from the growing ubiquity of drug testing, at corporations with big human resources departments, in industries like trucking where testing is mandated by federal law for safety reasons, and increasingly at smaller companies. But data suggest employers’ difficulties also reflect an increase in the use of drugs, especially marijuana — employers’ main gripe — and also heroin and other opioid drugs much in the news. Data on the scope of the problem is sketchy because figures on job applicants who test positive for drugs miss the many people who simply skip tests they cannot pass. But Quest Diagnostics, which has compiled employer-testing data since 1988, documented a 10% increase in one year in the percentage of American workers who tested positive for illicit drugs — up to 4.7 percent in 2014 from 4.3 percent in 2013.

With the software industry already plagued by a shortage of skilled workers, especially female programmers, some software companies think now would be the wrong time to institute drug testing for new employees, a move that would further limit the available talent pool. “The acceptability of at least marijuana has shifted dramatically over the last 20 years,” says Carl Erickson. “If the standard limits those that have used marijuana in the last week, you’re surely going to be limiting your pool of applicants.” Erickson’s decision not to drug test stems from a low risk of workplace injury for his workers combined with an unwillingness to pry into the personal lives of his employees. "My perspective on this is if they want to share their recreational habits with me, that’s their prerogative, but I’m sure as hell not going to put them in a position to have to do it."

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