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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 18 declined, 4 accepted (22 total, 18.18% accepted)

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Submission + - Experian Sold Consumer Data to ID Theft Service

quixote9 writes: From Krebs on Security Oct 13th. (Did I miss this earlier on Slashdot?)

An identity theft service that sold Social Security and drivers license numbers — as well as bank account and credit card data on millions of Americans — purchased much of its data from Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, according to a lengthy investigation by KrebsOnSecurity. ... [A]ccording to Martin there were other signs that should have alerted Experian to potential fraud associated with the account. For example, Martin said the Secret Service told him that the alleged proprietor of had paid Experian for his monthly data access charges using wire transfers sent from Singapore. “The issue in my mind was the fact that this went on for almost a year after Experian did their due diligence and purchased” Court Ventures, Martin said. “Why didn’t they question cash wires coming in every month? Experian portrays themselves as the databreach experts, and they sell identity theft protection services. How this could go on without them detecting it I don’t know.

With everybody from the NSA to Splunk getting into our business to "help" us and "protect" us, you'd think, since they're so worried about us, they'd be real concerned about keeping our data out of the hands of (obvious) criminals.

Submission + - "Black body" solar collector in the works ( 2

quixote9 writes: Ronald Ace won't say yet how he's doing it. Part of me sympathizes, given the track record of big corporations ripping off inventors. Part of me says "vaporware." But very exciting vaporware.

“Anybody who is skilled in the art and understands what he’s proposing is going to have this dumbfounding reaction: ‘Oh, well it’s obvious it’ll work,’” said Darnell, a biochemist with an extensive background in thermodynamics. ...

A major stumbling block for solar thermal energy devices invented to date has been that, as temperatures rise, increasing amounts of energy escapes, or radiates away, from their receivers. At 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, currently designed receivers would radiate as much energy as they collect, sinking their efficiency to zero, solar experts say.

In his patent application, Ace wrote that his invention amounts to “a high-temperature blackbody absorber”. ...

The key, he said, is his trap’s ability to absorb nearly 100 percent of the sunshine that hits it, while allowing only a tiny percentage of energy to escape, even at ultra-high temperatures.

Such a feat would astound many solar experts, who have had little success combating radiation losses in pilot solar plants, which use fields of mirrors to redirect and concentrate sunlight on common receivers.

Submission + - Danish scientists on brink of HIV cure (

quixote9 writes: HIV is hard to cure because it hides inside the patient's DNA. The Danish research follows a strategy to unpack the DNA, expose the viral bits, and then use immune stimulation to get rid of it.

The technique uses drugs called HDAC Inhibitors, which are more commonly used in treating cancer, to drive out the HIV from a patient’s DNA. ... The scientists are currently conducting human trials on their treatment, in the hope of proving that it is effective. It has already been found to work in laboratory tests. ... In vitro studies — those that use human cells in a laboratory — of the new technique proved so successful that in January, the Danish Research Council awarded the team 12 million Danish kroner (£1.5 million) to pursue their findings in clinical trials with human subjects. ... “The challenge will be getting the patients’ immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems.”

But the really interesting bit is this:

The Danish team’s research is among the most advanced and fast moving in the world, as that they have streamlined the process of putting the latest basic science discoveries into clinical testing.

Cutting edge molecular biology and bureaucratic breakthroughs. How cool is that?

Submission + - Kill all animated logos ( 1

quixote9 writes: How many people will abandon Slashdot if they choose one of those animated logos that show up every couple of days during the tryout period?

Would I really abandon /. over it? Of course not. I'd use Stylish and block it, like everyone else. But why should that even be necessary when sometime back in the Stone Age we already discovered that jumping hamsters, blinking lights, twirling whirligigs, and all content-irrelevant animations are simply stupid? Don't even try that stuff, Slashdot. You're better than that. Or, at least, you were.

Submission + - Empathy is baked in (

quixote9 writes: "From the article:

As charges of greed and self-interest fly in these hyper-partisan political times, humans might do well to look to rats for lessons in kindness and caring. A University of Chicago experiment to determine how much empathy rats have for each other had some surprising results, which are being published Friday in the research journal Science.

Not only did the rats help each other, but:

"We wanted to ask how much the free rat valued being able to liberate the caged rat," Mason said. "They like their chocolate chips, but the free rat would open both cages in no particular order. The free (rat) could have done all manner of things to monopolize the chocolate chips, but on average it always left one and a half chocolate chips for the liberated rat."

It left chocolate chips for the other rat!? :shock: The Science article is here."


Submission + - Personal log-ons leak to advertisers (

quixote9 writes: "An LA Times story talks about Mayer's work documenting the trail of information leakage through URLs shared with advertisers. It's of interest, but not very new, to Slashdotters. But that's in the mass media, as is his suggestion for how to mitigate the problem:

"The best thing they can do is to block advertising, because the moment content is loaded on the browser there is a risk of tracking."

Whan does Wladimir Palant get his Nobel Prize?"

United States

Submission + - What some light on Washington can do (

quixote9 writes: "A bit of publicity such as Slashdot threw on this earlier story, and today I hear that the Bureau of Land Management has suddenly discovered that they can study the impact of solar installations and handle applications concurrently. Will wonders never cease. From CNN-Money:

The federal government is again accepting applications to build new solar power plants on public land, reversing a previous moratorium on new projects, a key agency said Wednesday. The Bureau of Land Management said it will keep its doors open for new proposals while it studies how large solar plants might affect the environment of undeveloped areas of California and the Southwest.



Submission + - Mars had a Moon-making impact like Earth (

quixote9 writes: "The BBC reports on a set of Nature articles showing that Mars had an impact about four billion years ago by a huge asteroid.

This was about the same time that a much bigger object slammed into the Earth, throwing material into orbit around our infant planet. This material is thought to have coalesced to form the Moon. ... "It happened probably right at the end of the formation of the four terrestrial planets — Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars," said Craig Agnor, a co-author on the Francis Nimmo study. ... "In terms of the process of the planets sweeping up the last bits of debris, this could have been one of the last big bits of debris."
There's a theory that having a big moon is important to the development of life, because the much bigger tides create a bigger intertidal zone, but people used to think having a huge Moon like ours was a once-in-a-universe event. If huge impacts that could generate big moons are common, then, maybe . . . ."


Submission + - cancer cure from immune system cells 1

quixote9 writes: "We're getting closer to real cures for cancer. Via the BBC, research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine:

The 52-year-old man had advanced melanoma which had spread to the lungs and lymph nodes. Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle concentrated on a type of white blood cell called a CD4+ T cell. From a sample of the man's white blood cells, they were able to select CD4+ T cells which had been specifically primed to attack a chemical found on the surface of melanoma cells. These were then multiplied in the laboratory, and put back in their billions to see if they could mount an effective attack on the tumours. Two months later, scans showed the tumours had disappeared, and after two years, the man remained disease-free.
The BBC makes sure to say that this is a very narrowly targeted cure that wouldn't work for most cancers. But cancers generally appear to be very idiosyncratic, and real cures are likely going to have to be quite individual, just as this one is. This doesn't go with the drug industry's one-size-fits-all profit model, but it does seem to be the right direction for curing the disease."

Submission + - What IS a good way to stop child porn? (

quixote9 writes: "Censorship is bad. Agreed. And when we have stories like the recent one about three ISPs blocking child porn, lots of us tech types also point out how much of that is useless theatre. But there are some things, like child porn, which are so nasty I can see the public saying, "Not on my airwaves or on my fiber." Let's assume for the moment that we've solved the thorny issue of how to decide what needs to be banned. My question is: what is a technically feasible way to keep it off the net without interfering with other functions and without compromising privacy? Is it possible?"

Submission + - cancer resistant super-mouse and cell death (

quixote9 writes: "The BBC enthusiastically reports:

Mice carrying a gene which appears to make them invulnerable to cancer may hold the key to safer and more effective treatments for humans. The new breed, created with a more active "Par-4" gene, did not develop tumours, and even lived longer, said the journal Cancer Research.
The original abstract is more restrained. But this really is exciting work. Programmed cell death is the body's way of getting rid of cells beyond repair. Problems with that process are a large part of the reason why cancer can develop in the first place. Exciting times."


Submission + - Reversing Casimir force for levitation (

quixote9 writes: "We live in interesting times. From the (UK) Telegraph:

Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, have worked out a way of reversing this pheneomenon, known as the Casimir force, so that it repels instead of attracts. Their discovery could ultimately lead to frictionless micro-machines with moving parts that levitate. But they say that, in principle at least, the same effect could be used to levitate bigger objects too, even a person.
More at Dr. Ulf Leonhardt's page on this research."


Submission + - Space "pile-up" condemned dinosaurs (

quixote9 writes: "From the BBC report:

A colossal collision in space 160 million years ago set the dinosaurs on the path to extinction, a study claims. An asteroid pile-up sent debris swirling around the Solar System, including a chunk that later smashed into Earth wiping out the great beasts. Other fragments crashed into the Moon, Venus and Mars, gouging out some of their most dominant impact craters, a US-Czech research team believes. Its study, based on computer modelling, is reported in the journal Nature. ... unless a rogue comet came from the outer edge of the Solar System ("a rather unlikely event"), the Baptistina asteroid family remains a likely source for the Chicxulub impactor. "It is a poignant thought that the Baptistina collision some 160 million years ago sealed the fate of the late-Cretaceous dinosaurs well before most of them had evolved,"


Submission + - Hard data on Vista usage: not so much (

quixote9 writes: "We've heard conflicting estimates of how widely adopted Vista has been. Now comes some hard data. DRAM makers ramped up to meet the huge expected demand for more memory needed by Vista. Except the demand hasn't materialized. Now they're suffering. Alternatively, maybe everyone's cleverly hacked their Ultimate Aero Glass Vista to fit on their old PCs. You think?"

Submission + - badware

quixote9 writes: "(Similar to my last submitted story, but this time via the BBC.) More and more, badware doesn't need any action on the user's part, as it did in the days of email attachments. Recently, even ISP servers are infected, then infect all hosted pages, and spread to anyone who visits those pages. Via the BBC:

The rise of web 2.0 and user-generated content gave criminals other channels, or vectors, of attack, it found. For example, postings in blogs and forums that contain links to images or other content could unwittingly infect a user. The study also found that gangs were able to hijack web servers, effectively taking over and infecting all of the web pages hosted on the computer. In a test, the researchers' computer was infected with 50 different pieces of malware by visiting a web page hosted on a hijacked server. The firm [i. e. Google] is now in the process of mapping the malware threat."

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