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Submission + - Prominent Pro-Patent Judge Issues Opinion Declaring All Software Patents Bad (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A lawsuit brought by the world's largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, and handled on appeal (as are all patent cases), by the notoriously awful Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) may have actually killed off software patents. The ruling came from a judge that has ruled over patent cases since the 1980s, and it appears he's been born again into the anti-software patent world.

Judge Mayer pointed out that the First Amendment says that "some" patents should not be allowed. The whole concurrence is worth reading, starting with the First Amendment argument — which is kind of fascinating in that it goes well beyond what most people had talked about in the past concerning software patents. Important ruling decisions highlighted in the source.

Submission + - SPAM: Hofstra university posts a "trigger warning" sign for the presidential debate 2

mi writes: Hofstra University, which hosts the first presidential debate of 2016, has posted a “trigger warning” sign to warn students about the potentially disturbing content that may be discussed during the night:

Trigger Warning: The event conducted just beyond this sign may contain triggering and/or sensitive material. Sexual violence, sexual assault, and abuse are some topics mentioned within this event. If you feel triggered, please know there are resources to help you.”

Should people triggered by anything, which the candidates may mention, even vote?
Link to Original Source

Submission + - mechanics of the rejection of science (theguardian.com) 2

Layzej writes: Science strives for coherence. For example, the findings from climate science form a highly coherent body of knowledge that is supported by many independent lines of evidence. Those who reject climate science often rely on several mutually contradictory ideas. Hence, claims that the globe “is cooling” can coexist with claims that the “observed warming is natural” and that “the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us.” A recent study examines this behavior at the aggregate level, but gives many examples where contradictory ideas are held by the same individual, and sometimes are presented within a single publication.

The common denominator among contrarian positions is the conviction that climate change either does not exist or is not human caused, and that either way it does not present a risk (or if it does, then adaptation will deal with the problem). In a nutshell, the opposition to GHG emission cuts is the unifying and coherent position underlying all manifestations of climate science denial. Climate science denial is therefore perhaps best understood as a rational activity that replaces a coherent body of science with an incoherent and conspiracist body of pseudo-science for political reasons and with considerable political coherence and effectiveness.

Submission + - The Downsides of Google's Chrome Security Push (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: While the push to encrypt Internet connections by default is a laudable one, it is also essential that fundamental aspects of practicality and user reactions also be carefully considered.

I touched on some of this over a year ago in “Falling Into the Encryption Trap” — but now that Google has made more explicit their plans for browser address bar warnings to users regarding http: connections, I’m again concerned.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Science and Tech Activities for Middle School Girls

An anonymous reader writes: The only Science and Technology Badge for Girl Scout Cadettes (Grades 6 -8) is called "The Science of Happiness" (http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/home/badgeexplorer/#science-of-happiness) and their Healthy Living Badge is called "Eating for Beauty" (http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/home/badgeexplorer/#eating-for-beauty). Does the Slashdot community have any suggestions for real activities for this age group?

Submission + - The Epi-Pen price battle hits Congress (cnn.com) 2

Applehu Akbar writes: The recent exorbitant increase in the price of the Epi-Pen injector for epinephrine, a compound that has been generic for years, has now turned into civil war in the US Senate. One senator's daughter relies on Epi-Pen, while another senator's daughter is CEO of Mylan, the single company that is licensed to sell these injectors in the US.

On the worldwide market there is no monopoly on these devices. Manufacturers include Amedra Pharmaceuticals LLC, ALK Abello, Sanofi SA, and Lincoln Medical Ltd, Itelliject Inc, Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp, Hospira Inc, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Antares Pharma Inc. Is it finally time to allow Americans to go online and fill their prescriptions on the world market?

Submission + - The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime and Exxon fired the gun (theguardian.com) 1

mspohr writes: An article published by Bill McKibben in The Guardian points the finger at Exxon for spreading climate change denial which led to lack of action to prevent widespread coral die-off.
"We know the biggest culprits now, because great detective work by investigative journalists has uncovered key facts in the past year. The world’s biggest oil company, Exxon, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its scientists understood how much and how fast it was going to warm, and how much damage that was going to do. And the company knew the scientists were right: that’s why they started “climate-proofing” their own installations, for instance building their drilling rigs to accommodate the sea level rise they knew was coming.

What they didn’t do was tell the rest of us. Instead, they – and many other players in the fossil fuel industry – bankrolled the rise of the climate denial industry, helping fund the “thinktanks” and front groups that spent the last generation propagating the phoney idea that there was a deep debate about the reality of global warming. As a result, we’ve wasted a quarter century in a phoney argument about whether the climate was changing."

Submission + - 10 Year-Old Teaches Hackers a Valuable Lesson In Privacy (csoonline.com)

itwbennett writes: At r00tz Asylum, a kids-only gathering at DEF CON, 10-year-old Evan Robertson presented his first-place winning school science fair project, which showed how quickly people will hand over their privacy for a little free Wi-Fi. Robertson set up a Wi-Fi hotspot with terms-of-service that would allow him to access or modify connecting devices 'in any way.' In his science fair experiment, 76 people at local malls and stores connected to his hotspot, and 40 of them (52%) accepted the TOS to gain access. And, proving that security pros aren't all quite as privacy-minded as you might expect them to be, Robertson later set up his hotspot at BSides San Antonio, where 41 people connected to his hotspot, and 20 of them accepted the TOS.

Submission + - Is Cortana spying on us? 2

siamesevodka writes: I just got the anniversary update installed [windows 10] and noticed cortana is installed again.I seen it was active again and wondered why. So I remembered it was hard for me uninstall or shut off the last time. So I asked cortana how to uninstall it. It replied that the anniversary update made sure it was permanently installed. So does this thing spy on us now even if we don't use it? Is it a back door for the NSA to keep tabs on me? Is microsoft whoring me out with their "free" software ? Is there a way to still shut it completely off or is George Orwell right?

Submission + - Industry Pushes Foreign Labor, Claiming 'U.S. Students Can't Hack It in Tech' (breitbart.com)

geek writes: According to Caroline May "The tech industry is seeking to bolster its argument for more white-collar foreign tech workers with the insulting claim that the education system is insufficiently preparing Americans for tech fields, according to pro-American worker attorneys with the Immigration Reform Law Institute."

"But if the H-1B program really is meant to correct the failings of our education system, as BigTech’s new messaging-push implies, why is it importing so many people from India? According to results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a global standardized math and science assessment sponsored by the OECD, India scored almost dead last among the 74 countries tested. The results were apparently so embarrassing, the country pulled out of the program all together. Not surprisingly then, there isn’t a single Indian university that appears within the top 250 spots of the World University Rankings Survey. And unlike American bachelor’s degrees, obtaining a bachelor’s in India takes only three years of study."

Submission + - Frequent password changes are the enemy of security (arstechnica.com)

npslider writes: FTC technologist and former Carnegie Mellon University professor Lorrie Cranor says, "Contrary to what you've been told, frequent [password] changes can be counterproductive".

Common techniques account holders used when they were required to change passwords are to add or change only a single character. Users take their old passwords, they change it in some small way, and they come up with a new password. Many users, faced with the challenge of memorizing a new password every 60 days will write the password down on a sticky note and put it under the keyboard or on the monitor — defeating the purpose of keeping passwords secret in the first place.

A separate study from researchers at Carleton University provided a mathematical demonstration that frequent password changes hamper attackers only minimally and probably not enough to offset the inconvenience to end users.

Submission + - How Some ISPs Could Subvert Your Local Network Security (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: You can see the problem. If your local net has typically lax security, and you don’t have your own firewall downstream of that ISP modem, the modem Wi-Fi security could be disabled remotely, your local network sucked dry late one night, and security restored by the morning. You might not even have a clue that any of this occurred.

Submission + - Shift cybersecurity costs away from security teams and onto prosecutors (networkworld.com)

Miche67 writes: Security teams fight a constant battle—and spends lots of money—preventing cyberattacks. It's time to shift the burden and have prosecutors go after cyber criminals, writes Tom Henderson.

"Prosecutors need to increase their focus on catching spammers, hackers and system crackers and put them in jail—not small-time criminals such as marijuana users, speeders and loose cigarette sellers," he says.

To fight this cyber war, we need task forces and special private operations groups that look into such things as malicious spam payloads and bot-nets. To make that happen, we need legislators to work together to develop laws and policies that stop cyber criminals, he says. That means citizens must vote for officials who will do that.

"The bad guys are winning, and it’s costing the economy loads and creating trust issues. And until we have public policy combined with appropriate funding to address the problem, the breeches will continue—until we’ve all been robbed."

Submission + - Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable

HughPickens.com writes: Getting caught in a tech support loop — waiting on hold, interacting with automated systems, talking to people reading from unhelpful scripts and then finding yourself on hold yet again — is a peculiar kind of aggravation that mental health experts say can provoke rage in even the most mild-mannered person. Now Kate Murphy writes at the NYT that just as you suspected, companies are aware of the torture they are putting you through as 92 percent of customer service managers say their agents could be more effective and 74 percent say their company procedures prevented agents from providing satisfactory experiences. “Don’t think companies haven’t studied how far they can take things in providing the minimal level of service,” says Justin Robbins, who was once a tech support agent himself and now oversees research and editorial at ICMI. “Some organizations have even monetized it by intentionally engineering it so you have to wait an hour at least to speak to someone in support, and while you are on hold, you’re hearing messages like, ‘If you’d like premium support, call this number and for a fee, we will get to you immediately.’”

Mental health experts say there are ways to get better tech support or maybe just make it more bearable. First, do whatever it takes to control your temper. Take a deep breath. Count to 10. Losing your stack at a consumer support agent is not going to get your problem resolved any faster and being negative in your dealings with others can quickly paint you as a complainer no one wants to work with. Don’t bother demanding to speak to a supervisor, either. You’re just going to get transferred to another agent who has been alerted ahead of time that you have come unhinged. To get better service by phone, dial the prompt designated for “sales” or “to place an order,” which almost always gets you an onshore agent, while tech support is usually offshore with the associated language difficulties. Finally customer support experts recommended using social media, like tweeting or sending a Facebook message, to contact a company instead of calling. You are likely to get a quicker response, not only because fewer people try that channel but also because your use of social media shows that you know how to vent your frustration to a wider audience if your needs are not met.

Submission + - Landlords, ISPs Team Up To Rip Off Tenants On Broadband (backchannel.com)

itwbennett writes: Eight years ago, the FCC issued an order banning exclusive agreements between landlords and ISPs, but a loophole is being exploited, leaving many tenants in apartment buildings with only one choice of broadband service provider. The loophole works like this: Instead of having an exclusive agreement with one provider, the landlords refuse to let any other companies than their chosen providers access their properties, according to Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford, who wrote an article about the issue.

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