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Submission + - Slashdot blocked in Switzerland (Possibly other parts of Europe) 1

Wattos writes: On my daily commute to work, it is my habit to check several websites for the latest news. Imagine how surprised I was that when was not accessible anymore. Instead I received a 403 Restricted error page. Initially I thought that this would have been a simple mistake by my mobile ISP, so I connected to my home VPN. Slashdot was blocked including many links to websites with vpn services. After connecting to a VPN provider outside of the country (in Poland) slashdot was accessible again.

Submission + - NSA recruitment drive goes horribly wrong

An anonymous reader writes: The Guardian is running a story about a recent recruitment session held by the NSA and attended by students from the University of Wisconsin which had an unexpected outcome for the recruiters.

Attending the session was Madiha R Tahir, a journalist studying a language course at the university. She asked the squirming recruiters a few uncomfortable questions about the activities of NSA: which countries the agency considers to be 'adversaries', and if being a good liar is a qualification for getting a job at the NSA.

Following her, others students started to put NSA employees under fire too. A recording of the session is available on Tahir's blog.


Submission + - Bitcoin Trading Crashes To $38 After Block Chain Fork Bug Announced (

Laguna Computer writes: "Today Bitcoin BTC$ crashed to $38 from $48 following news that a block chain fork has occurred. According to realtime chat on the official Mt.Gox Chat Room, the bug occurred after the .8 Bitcoin software version was released. While sources maintain that digital currency wallets are safe, they have asked certain bitcoin miners to cease operation until the block chains can merge. More information to come."

Submission + - Bitcoin blockchain forked by backward-compatibility issue (

jhantin writes: The Bitcoin blockchain has forked due to a lurking backward-compatibility issue: versions older than 0.8 do not properly handle blocks larger than about 500k, and Slush's pool mined a 974k block today. The problem is that not all mining operations are on 0.8; blocks are being generated by a mix of several different versions of the daemon, each making its own decision as to which of the two forks is preferable to extend, and older versions refuse to honor or extend from a block of this size.

The consensus on #bitcoin-dev is damage control: miners need to mine on pre-0.8 code so the backward-compatible fork will outgrow and thus dominate the compatibility-breaking one; merchants need to stop accepting transactions until the network re-converges on the backward-compatible fork of the chain; and average users can ignore the warning that they are out of sync and need to upgrade.


Submission + - No more helium-parties-hellium gone in 30 years

An anonymous reader writes: What do MRI machines, rockets, fiber optics, LCDs, food production and welding have in common? They all require the inert, or noble, gas helium for their use or at some stage of their production. And that helium essentially could be gone in less than three decades
The U.S. holds vast majority of the world helium stocks, managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; the gas sits underground in natural salt domes atop granite in the Great Plains. Congress passed a law in 1996 dictating the sale of all U.S. stocks by 2015 to compensate the government for its investment in the helium and its storage. A 2000 study conducted by the National Research Council concluded that a helium surplus would exist for the foreseeable future. Soon after that report, however, helium usage skyrocketed, as the gas yielded many benefits for industry and medicine. In a January 2010 report for the National Research Council, “Selling the Nation’s Helium Reserve,” Richardson and committee cochair Charles G. “Chip” Groat, a University of Texas at Austin geologist, described the pitfalls of the current U.S. strategy.

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