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Submission + - What if you could solve the deficit? ( 4

pha7boy writes: As people are wondering if Congress will ever be able to solve the budget/deficit crisis, do they understand the complexities involved in the decision making process? Alternatively, do Tea-Party-ers in Congress understand the impact of cutting programs such as education, research, or healthcare?

The Wilson Center's Science and Technology Innovation program, together with American Public Media created Budget Hero, a web game allowing players to try and balance the budget and solve the deficit problem by making policy choices. While the game might not offer ready made policy solutions, it goes a long way toward explaining the trade-offs one has to make in the quest to reduce the deficit.


Submission + - Hackers Could Open Convicts' Cells in Prisons

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Kim Zetter writes that some of the same vulnerabilities that the Stuxnet superworm used to sabotage centrifuges at a nuclear plant in Iran exist in the country’s top high-security prisons where programmable logic controllers (PLCs) control locks on cells and other facility doors and researchers have already written three exploits for PLC vulnerabilities they found. “Most people don’t know how a prison or jail is designed, that’s why no one has ever paid attention to it,” says John Strauchs, who plans to discuss the issue and demonstrate an exploit against the systems at the DefCon hacker conference next week. “How many people know they’re built with the same kind of PLC used in centrifuges?” A hacker would need to get his malware onto the control computer either by getting a corrupt insider to install it via an infected USB stick or send it via a phishing attack aimed at a prison staffer, since some control systems are also connected to the internet, Strauchs claims. “Bear in mind, a prison security electronic system has many parts beyond door control such as intercoms, lighting control, video surveillance, water and shower control, and so forth,” adds Strauchs. "Once we take control of the PLC we can do anything (PDF). Not just open and close doors. We can absolutely destroy the system. We could blow out all the electronics.”"

Submission + - What's Needed for Freedom in the "cloud"? (

jrepin writes: "Georg Greve from Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has often been asked to explain what he considers necessary prerequisites for an open, free, sustainable approach towards what is often called “The Cloud” or also “Software as a Service” (SaaS). He gives 7 ingredients that are necessary for freedom in the cloud."

Submission + - Rats Ate Easter Island (

kgeiger writes: The Wall Street Journal reviews a new book about Easter Island. Contrary to Jared Diamond's 2005 book Collapse, Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo's The Statues that Walked (Free Press, 2011) posits that brown rats deforested Rapa Nui, that slavers decimated the population, and that the phosphate-poor soils limited both agriculture and population. Because palm trees are soft and fibrous, they make poor rollers; the moai were in fact "walked" into position the same way one person can move a heavy, upright refrigerator by rocking and shifting it.

Submission + - Car immobilisers may be crackable (

adaviel writes: Car immobilisers may be cracked by criminals, according to a study by Karsten Nohl of Security Research Labs. He finds many manufacturers still using 40-bit encryption, while one used the publicly-visible VIN as a key for the car's internal data network. Many, however, think it still easier to steal a Mercedes with a flat-bed truck.

Submission + - WikiLeaks publishes list of sites US calls "vital" (

ubermiester writes: CBC News reports that Wikileaks has published "a secret U.S. State Department list of key infrastructure sites in foreign countries ... that Washington considers vital to the national security of the United States." The sites, which include nuclear facilites, mines, dams, undersea cables, factories, etc., were deemed vital because they "could seriously harm the U.S. if they were targeted by terrorists or destroyed by other means." The leaked cable includes the "locations of [British] undersea cables, satellite systems and defence plants." Calling Wikileaks "irresponsible, bordering on criminal", the British Foreign Secretary is quoted as saying "This is the kind of information terrorists are interested in knowing". It is unclear why Wikileaks chose to release this information.

Comment Re:Never (Score 5, Insightful) 606

you would not pilot a flying car. the computer would be running it for you. The problem of computers driving/flying cars is not that far from being solved. It would probably be easier to make them fly then to get them to drive cars, anyway. the problem is figuring out the energy requirements to make flying cars possible. I say between 100 and 200 years and we might have something going.

Comment MS - get you're game on (Score 0) 403

If Microsoft would put a TV tuner in a revamped XBox360, that would be a killer gadget. Bing to search. wireless keyboard for hotmail and surfing. videochat via MS's chat client. XBox Live integration. Come on guys... get it together.

Game Prices — a Historical Perspective 225

The Opposable Thumbs blog scrutinizes the common wisdom that video games are too expensive, or that they're more expensive than they were in the past. They found that while in some cases the sticker price has increased, it generally hasn't outpaced inflation, making 2010 a cheaper time to be a gamer than the '80s and '90s. Quoting: "... we tracked down a press release putting the suggested retail price of both Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64 at $69.99. [Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumer's Association] says that the N64 launch game pricing only tells you part of the story. 'Yes, some N64 games retailed for as high as $80, but it was also the high end of a 60 to 80 dollar range,' he told Ars. 'Retailers had more flexibility with pricing back then — though they've consistently maintained that the Suggested Retail Price was/is just a guide. Adjusted for inflation, we're generally paying less now than we have historically. But to be fair, DLC isn't factored in.' He also points out all the different ways that we can now access games: you can buy a game used, rent a game, or play certain online games for free. There are multiple ways to sell your old console games, and the competition in the market causes prices to fall quickly."

Submission + - Apple and the great Tea/Coffee battle 1

pha7boy writes: I am interested in seeing if there is a connection between the technology people use and the side they chose in the coffee vs tea epic battle for the soul of mankind.

* Do you drink coffee and own an iphone/ipad
* Do you drink tea and own and iphone/ipad
* Do you drink coffee and own an android phone
* Do you drink tea and own an android phone
* I drink none and own an abacus

Submission + - The zombie cookie (

frontwave writes: In addition to cookies, modern web sites use a whole variety of storage mechanism to uniquely identify revisiting browsers. Techniques include Flash cookies and various HTML5 storage mechanisms. On his home page, Samy Kamkar presents a JavaScript API which combines a number of these mechanism to create an extremely persistent zombie cookie the developer calls the evercookie.

Submission + - Google's New Data Center to be Sea-Water Cooled ( 1

itwbennett writes: Mike Elgan is blogging about a report in the magazine Computer Sweden that Google's new data center in Hamina Finland will be 'cooled with water from the bottom of the Baltic Sea.' The data center sits on the site of an old paper mill (a fact that Elgan notes the publishing industry is likely to find rife with symbolism), and 'the water will be brought to the surface using refurbished paper mill pumps.'

The Second Age of Airships 363

The Telegraph has a story about a new generation of airships. It says "It's a new vehicle. It's a hybrid because we're combining helium lift, aerodynamic lift, a hovercraft landing system, and vectored thrust... If you can get beyond the word airship — because that has a lot of history — people think about them differently."

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