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Crime

Submission + - NYTimes says Cybercrime Risk Vastly Overstated (nytimes.com)

retroworks writes: Dinei Florencio and Cormac Herley write that cybercrime, like unrestricted fishing, depleted gullible and unprotected users, producing diminishing returns (over-phishing?). They argue that the statistics on the extent of losses from cybercrime are flawed because there is never an under-estimation (or gain) reported. Do they underestimate the number of suckers gaining internet access born every minute? Or has cybercrime become the "shark attack" that gets reported more often than it occurs?
Censorship

Comics Code Dead 316

tverbeek writes "After more than half a century of stifling the comic book industry, the Comics Code Authority is effectively dead. Created in response to Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, one of the early think-of-the-children censorship campaigns, and Congressional hearings, the Code laid out a checklist of requirements and restrictions for comics to be distributed to newsstand vendors, effectively ensuring that in North America, only simplistic stories for children would be told using the medium of sequential art. It gradually lost many of its teeth, and an increasing number of publishers gave up on newsstand distribution and ignored the Code, but at the turn of the century the US's largest comics publishers still participated. Marvel quit it in 2001, in favor of self-applied ratings styled after the MPAA's and ESRB's. Last year Bongo (publishers of the Simpsons comics) quietly dropped out. Now DC and Archie, the last publishers willingly subjecting their books to approval, have announced that they're discontinuing their use of the CCA, with DC following Marvel's example, and Archie (which recently introduced an openly gay supporting character, something flatly forbidden by the original Code) carrying on under their own standards. The Code's cousins — the MPAA and ESRB ratings, the RIAA parental advisory, and the mishmash of warnings on TV shows — still live on, but at least North American comic publishers are no longer subject to external censorship."
Businesses

The Fall of Wintel and the Rise of Armdroid 431

hype7 writes "The Harvard Business Review is running a very interesting article on how this year's CES marked the end of the Wintel platform's dominance. Their argument is that tablets are going to disrupt the PC, and these tablets are predominantly going to be running on Google's Android powered by ARM processors — 'Armdroid.' Quoting: 'Both Microsoft and Intel have suffered from the same problem that most successful companies face when dealing with disruption. They cannot find a way to profitably invest in low-end offerings. Think about it from Microsoft's point of view: now that Windows 7 has been developed, to sell another copy, they don't have to do a single thing. Because of this, it becomes very hard for any executive to advocate the complete development of a low cost OS that will run on tablets: not only would it cost Microsoft a lot to develop, but it would result in cannibalization of its core product sales. Intel has the exact same issue. Why focus on Atom, or an even lower-end chip, when there is so much more margin to be made by focusing on its multi-core desktop processors?'"
Facebook

Goldman Sachs Says No Facebook Shares For US Investors 529

theodp writes "In 2009, Robert Cringely speculated that the day might be coming when Goldman Sachs decides the United States isn't worth dealing with anymore. Crazy, eh? Maybe not. Blaming 'intense media attention,' Goldman Sachs has decided to exclude US investors from a $1.5 billion Facebook offering. In a nicely-timed all-investors-are-not-created-equal MLK Day statement, the US taxpayer bailout beneficiary said, 'Goldman Sachs decided to proceed only with the offer to investors outside the US....We regret the consequences of this decision, but Goldman Sachs believes this is the most prudent path to take.'"
Biotech

Nobel Prize Winner Says DNA Performs Quantum Teleportation 347

HJED writes "TechWorld is reporting that the joint winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2008, Luc Montagnier, is claiming that DNA can send 'electromagnetic imprints' of itself into distant cells and fluids which can then be used by enzymes to create copies of the original DNA. This would be equivalent to quantum teleportation. You can read the original paper here [PDF]."
Sony

Sony Files Lawsuit Against PS3 Hacker GeoHot 508

Kayot writes "George Hotz, or, as he is known on the internet, GeoHot, has been served court papers. Shorty after Team fail0verflow discovered faults in the PS3's TPMs, Geohot and others figured out how to extract the long sought after holy grail encryption keys. Apparently Sony is not pleased and is very keen on defending their poorly defended system with the US legal system. The basis is that GeoHot released programs that allow the signing of homebrew which can be used to make PSN-like games out of normal PS3 games. However GeoHot has never supported any form of piracy and in fact has taken a constant stance against it."
IT

Disempowering the Singular Sysadmin? 433

An anonymous reader writes "Practically every computer system appears to be at the mercy of at least one individual who holds root (or whatever other superuser identity can destroy or subvert that system). However, making a system require multiple individuals for any root operation (think of the classic two-key process to launch a nuke) has shortcomings: simple operations sometimes require root, and would be enormously cumbersome if they needed a consensus of administrators to execute. There is the idea of a Distributed Administration Network, which is like a cluster of independently administered servers, but this is a limited case for deployment of certain applications. And besides, DAN appears still to be vaporware. Are there more sweeping yet practical solutions out there for avoiding the weakness of a singular empowered superuser?"
Open Source

Hosting Company Appears To Be Violating the GPL [Resolved] 418

palegray.net writes "A web hosting provider called Appnor has recently moved the network diagnostics utility WinMTR off of SourceForge, and is now claiming the program to be a closed source, commercial application (it was previously made available under the GPL). I emailed the current maintainer of the original mtr utility about this, and have been informed that this event most likely constitutes an overt GPL violation, as it is presumed that WinMTR contains mtr code. Appnor claims that they have the right to do this, as there have been no external contributions to WinMTR in over ten years. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think copyright law works that way." Update: 01/10 18:24 GMT by KD : The CEO of Appnor, Dragos Manac, has posted a response, claiming that no GPL violation occurred, and promising to revert the code to GPLv2 by the end of the week.
Update: 01/11 14:01 GMT by KD : That was fast. WinMTR announced that the code is now available under the GPLv2.
Communications

Why Creators Should Never Read Their Forums 221

spidweb writes "One full-time Indie developer writes about why he never goes to online forums discussing his work and why he advises other creators to do the same. It's possible to learn valuable things, but the time and the stress just don't justify the effort. From the article, 'Forums contain a cacophony of people telling you to do diametrically opposite things, very loudly, often for bad reasons. There will be plenty of good ideas, but picking them out from the bad ones is unreliable and a lot of work. If you try to make too many people happy at once, you will drive yourself mad. You have to be very, very careful who you let into your head.'"
Open Source

Apache Subversion To WANdisco, Inc: Get Real 85

kfogel writes "The Apache Subversion project has just had to remind one of its corporate contributors about the rules of the road. WANdisco, Inc was putting out some very odd press releases and blog posts, implying (among other things) that their company was in some sort of steering position in the open source project. Oops — that's not the Apache Way. The Apache Software Foundation has reminded them of how things work. Meanwhile, one of the founding developers of Subversion, Ben Collins-Sussman, has posted a considerably more caustic take on WANdisco's behavior."
Microsoft

OSI Refers Novell Patent Deal To Authorities 88

WebMink writes "Worried that the unholy alliance of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and EMC — hardly known for their collaboration — is establishing a patent troll called CPTN to attack open source software, the Open Source Initiative has announced that they have referred the Novell deal over to the German competition authorities."
The Internet

The Right's War On Net Neutrality 945

jamie writes "To understand the debate being waged in the United States over Net Neutrality, it's important to understand just how drastically one side has been misled. The leaders of the American Right are spreading the lie that Net Neutrality is a government takeover of the internet, with the intention of silencing conservative voices. (Limbaugh: "All you really have to know about Net Neutrality is that its biggest promoters are George Soros and Google.") This may be hard to believe to those of us who actually know what it's about — reinstating pre-2005 law that ensured internet providers could discriminate on the basis of volume but not content. Since the opposing side is so badly misinformed, those of us who want the internet to remain open to innovation and freedom of expression have to help educate them before the debate can really be held."
Crime

Is Reading Spouse's E-Mail a Crime? 496

Hugh Pickens writes "The Detroit Free Press reports that Leon Walker is charged with unlawfully reading the e-mail of Ciara Walker, his wife at that time, which showed she was having an affair with her second husband, who once had been arrested for beating her in front of her son. Walker says he gave the e-mails to her first husband, the child's father, to protect the boy. 'I was doing what I had to do,' says Walker. 'We're talking about putting a child in danger.' Now prosecutors, relying on a Michigan statute typically used to prosecute crimes such as identity theft or stealing trade secrets, have charged Leon Walker with a felony for logging onto a laptop in the home he shared with his wife. Prosecutor Jessica Cooper defended her decision to charge Walker. 'The guy is a hacker,' says Cooper, adding that the Gmail account 'was password protected, he had wonderful skills, and was highly trained. Then he downloaded [the emails] and used them in a very contentious way.'"
Transportation

TSA Investigates Pilot Who Exposed Security Flaws 394

stewart_maximus writes "The TSA is investigating a TSA deputized pilot who posted videos to YouTube pointing out security flaws. Flaws exposed include ground crew clearing security with just a card swipe while pilots have to go through metal detectors, and a 'medieval-looking rescue ax' being available on the flight deck. Three days after posting the video, 6 government officials arrived at his door to question him and confiscated his federal firearm (and his concealed weapon permit)."
Math

Mathematics As the Most Misunderstood Subject 680

Lilith's Heart-shape writes "Dr. Robert H. Lewis, professor of mathematics at Fordham University of New York, offers in this essay a defense of mathematics as a liberal arts discipline, and not merely part of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum. In the process, he discusses what's wrong with the manner in which mathematics is currently taught in K-12 schooling."

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