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Submission + - A $6 Bot That Sinkholes Telemarketers and Robocalls 1

Trailrunner7 writes: A bot that started as a way for one man to annoy and frustrate telemarketers and robocallers has now developed into a subscription service for consumers and businesses who have had enough of the unsolicited and sometimes fraudulent calls.

The Jolly Roger Telephone Co. is the creation of Roger Anderson, a phone industry veteran who built it for his own use originally. The concept is simple and ruthlessly effective for preventing robocalls from getting through. The system sits in front of a landline and when a robocall is detected, it will respond with a phrase to get a human on the line or make the robocalled think it’s talking to a real person. Anderson had the system on his home lines and it worked well enough that he eventually posted instructions for others to send telemarketers to his bot.

He then built more bots with different abilities and says that the bots have answered nearly 200,000 calls so far. His Jolly Roger bot got quite a lot of media attention a couple months ago and so Anderson decided to put together a subscription service to allow consumers and businesses both to send unwanted calls through the system. The subscription price is $6 per year for consumers.

Submission + - Oracle exec: Stop sending vulnerability reports (zdnet.com)

florin writes: Oracle chief security officer Mary Ann Davidson published a most curious rant on the company's corporate blog yesterday, addressing and reprimanding some pesky customers that just will not stop bothering her. As Mary put it: "Recently, I have seen a large-ish uptick in customers reverse engineering our code to attempt to find security vulnerabilities in it. ".

She goes on to describe how the company deals with such shameful activities, namely that "we send a letter to the sinning customer, and a different letter to the sinning consultant-acting-on-customer's behalf — reminding them of the terms of the Oracle license agreement that preclude reverse engineering, So Please Stop It Already."

Later on, in a section intended to highlight how great a job Oracle itself was doing at finding vulnerabilities, the CSO accidentally revealed that customers are in fact contributing a rather significant 1 out of every 10 vulnerabilities: "Ah, well, we find 87 percent of security vulnerabilities ourselves, security researchers find about 3 percent and the rest are found by customers.".

Unsurprisingly, this revealing insight into the company's regard for its customers was removed later. But not before being saved for posterity.

Submission + - A paper by Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel was accepted by two journals (vox.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A scientific study by Maggie Simpson, Edna Krabappel, and Kim Jong Fun has been accepted by two journals. Of course, none of these fictional characters actually wrote the paper, titled "Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations." Rather, it's a nonsensical text, submitted by engineer Alex Smolyanitsky in an effort to expose a pair of scientific journals — the Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems and the comic sans-loving Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology.

Submission + - Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science

HughPickens.com writes: Andy Borowitz writes at The New Yorker that there is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science. According to Borowitz, writing tongue in cheek, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day. “If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science," says Harland Dorrinson, a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield, Missouri. Dorrinson adds that he worries about a “slippery slope” situation, “in which a belief in science leads to a belief in math, which in turn fosters a dangerous dependence on facts.”

Submission + - Google hires camel for desert Street View (cnn.com)

mpicpp writes: t's given us robot cars and internet-enabled glasses — but when it came to creating a "Street View" of a desert, Google hit on a low-tech solution.

It hired a camel.

The beast has become the first animal to carry Google's Trekker camera, which is typically hoisted by humans to capture 360-degree images of destinations inaccessible to its Street View cars.

Google spokeswoman Monica Baz says the camel, reportedly named Raffia, was an apt way of documenting the beautiful shifting sands of Abu Dhabi's Liwa Oasis.

"With every environment and every location, we try to customize the capture and how we do it for that part of the environment," she told The National newspaper.

"In the case of Liwa we fashioned it in a way so that it goes on a camel so that it can capture imagery in the best, most authentic and least damaging way," Baz said.

The Liwa Oasis is a 100 kilometer-wide (62-mile) scenic desert, southeast of the city of Abu Dhabi that includes some of the world's biggest sand dunes.

Submission + - Vancouver Pastafarian boiling mad over ICBC photo flap (vancouversun.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Surrey man, an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, is involved in a holy war of sorts with ICBC over his right to wear his religious headgear — a spaghetti strainer — in his B.C. driver's licence photo.

Submission + - NTSB reminds pilots to land at correct airport (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: There are a ton of details involved in flying an aircraft no doubt but you might think landing at the correct airport would be one of those things that just wouldn't be a serious problem. Well I guess we'd be wrong on that score because today the National Transportation Safety Board has issued a Safety Alert to remind pilots to um, land at the right airport. There have been at least two wrong landing incidents in the past year that prompted the NTSB's missive entitled "Landing at the Wrong Airport." The most recent occurred in January when a Southwest Airlines 737 landed at the wrong airport in Branson, Missouri (the video in this story shows the plane leaving that airport); then last November a Boeing 747 cargo plane landed on a 6,100-foot runway instead of the 12,000-foot one at its intended airport 12 miles away.

Submission + - Facebook mocks 'infection' study, predicts Princeton's demise (facebook.com) 1

Okian Warrior writes: In a followup to our earlier story about Princeton researchers predicting the end of Facebook by 2017, Facebook has struck back with a post using similar statistical techniques to predict that Princeton itself may be facing irreversible decline.

By using similar methods ("likes," mentions in scholarly papers, Google searches) Facebook creates convincing-looking graphs that indicate Princeton is losing ground compared with its rivals and may have no students at all by 2021.

Google

Submission + - Movie Studios Ask Google To Censor Links To Legal Copies Of Their Films

An anonymous reader writes: Several large movie studios have asked Google to take down legitimate pages related to their own films, including sites legally hosting, promoting, or discussing them. We’ve written about the ridiculousness of automated Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requests before, including Microsoft asking Google to censor BBC, CBS, CNN, Wikipedia, the US government, and even its own Bing links, but this latest episode takes the cake.

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