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Submission + - Researcher Uses Valve Security Bug to Upload Paint Drying Game on Steam (

An anonymous reader writes: A security researcher found two bypasses in Valve's game review process that eventually allowed him to publish Steam Trading Cards and a full game on the Steam Store called "Watch Paint Dry" (reference to this case from last month involving the British film censors).

The game was supposed to be an April Fools' Day prank, but the researcher forgot to set a release date, and was published on the Steam Store last weekend. Valve has fixed the security bypass in the meantime. These were extremely dangerous since it allowed anyone to publish games on the Store (possible containing malware) without a Valve employee ever taking a look at them, or knowing they went through the review process.

Submission + - Facebook Testing Anti-Impersonation Feature

Trailrunner7 writes: Phishing and account takeover attacks take many forms, especially on massive platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, and defending against them is a tall order. Facebook has tried a number of tactics over the years, and now the company is testing a new feature that will detect and warn users when someone else is trying to impersonate them on the network.

The system is designed to address a difficult problem on social networks: impostors. Many social media platforms allow anonymity in some form or another, but some, like Twitter, have adjusted those policies over time to require real names and identities. As more and more people connect their online identities to their real-world lives in various ways, the problem of online impostors has become a much more serious one. An attacker who has the ability to put together a convincing false account for someone else can cause serious damage to the victim’s personal and perhaps professional life.

Feed Google News Sci Tech: The Oculus Rift Is Here, but Virtual Reality Is Still Rough Around the Edges - New York Times (

New York Times

The Oculus Rift Is Here, but Virtual Reality Is Still Rough Around the Edges
New York Times
Microsoft Created a Twitter Bot to Learn From Users. It Quickly Became a Racist Jerk. Chip-Card Payment System Delays Frustrate Retailers. Loading... See next articles. See previous articles. Personal Tech. Site Navigation. Home Page Home Page World.
Oculus Rift VR headset review: The magical, yet unfinished birth of virtual realityPCWorld
Review: Oculus Rift Is Expensive, Complicated, and Totally WonderfulTIME
Oculus Rift Review: VR's Rising Star Isn't Ready for the MainstreamWall Street Journal
WIRED-USA TODAY-Gizmodo-The Verge
all 141 news articles

Submission + - Zero-Rating Harms Poor People, Public Interest Groups Tell FCC (

An anonymous reader writes: The nation’s largest internet service providers are undermining US open internet rules, threatening free speech, and disproportionately harming poor people by using a controversial industry practice called “zero-rating,” a coalition of public interest groups wrote in a letter to federal regulators on Monday.

Companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T use zero-rating, which refers to a variety of practices that exempt certain services from monthly data caps, to undercut “the spirit and the text” of federal rules designed to protect net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible, the groups wrote.

The letter, which was signed by the Center for Media Justice, the Open Technology Institute, Free Press, and dozens of other groups, increases the pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to address zero-rating, which has become the latest battlefront in the decade-long war between policymakers, industry giants, and consumer advocates over how best to ensure internet openness.

Zero-rated plans “distort competition, thwart innovation, threaten free speech, and restrict consumer choice—all harms the rules were meant to prevent,” the groups wrote. “These harms tend to fall disproportionately on low income communities and communities of color, who tend to rely on mobile networks as their primary or exclusive means of access to the internet.”

Submission + - Human spaceflight set to return to the Kennedy Space Center in 2017 (

MarkWhittington writes: When the space shuttle program ended in 2011, it was considered an end of an era for human space flight, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The Kennedy Space Center was hit especially hard, with layoffs decimating the workforce that used to support shuttle missions. However, things are starting to turn around, with more launches occurring in 2015 than had happened on the space coast since 2003. 2017 will see that return of human spaceflight to the Kennedy Space Center as both Boeing and SpaceX will start testing its commercial crew vehicles in anticipation of operations to and from the International Space Station starting in 2018. For the past five years, human space flight has been outsourced to Russia at great expense.

Submission + - Microsoft Breaks System File Checker Utility

jones_supa writes: Another lemon hits Windows quality assurance team. The operating system comes with a useful tool called System File Checker (sfc.exe) that can be used to verify the integrity of system files, and if any corrupted files are found, they can be replaced with original copies from a hive. Microsoft has recently acknowledged a bug with SFC in Windows 10 version 1511 (November Update), explaining that the company is already working on a fix that should be released very soon. Currently the error message "Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them." can be a false alarm. When you install Windows, it drops in a certain version of opencl.dll. However hardware drivers may also install their own replacement version of opencl.dll. SFC does not take this into account.

Submission + - Ubuntu Tablet Is Now Available for Pre-Order

prisoninmate writes: During last month's MWC 2016 event, Canonical had the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet on display at their huge booth, along with the superb Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone, and the Sony Xperia Z1 and OnePlus One Ubuntu Phones. The company teased users last week with the availability for pre-order of the first ever Ubuntu tablet for March 28, and that day has arrived. Probably the most important aspect of the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet, which interested many users, was the price, and we can tell you now that it costs €289.90 for the Full HD version, and €249.90 for the HD model. It can be pre-ordered now from BQ's online store.

Submission + - Why BART is Falling Apart writes: Matthias Gafni writes in the San Jose Mercury News that the engineers who built BART, the rapid transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area that started operation in 1972, used principles developed for the aerospace industry rather than tried-and-true rail standards. And that's the trouble. "Back when BART was created, (the designers) were absolutely determined to establish a new product, and they intended to export it around the world," says Rod Diridon. "They may have gotten a little ahead of themselves using new technology. Although it worked, it was extremely complex for the time period, and they never did export the equipment because it was so difficult for other countries to install and maintain." The Space Age innovations have made it more challenging for the transit agency to maintain the BART system from the beginning. Plus, the aging system was designed to move 100,000 people per week and now carries 430,000 a day, so the loss of even a single car gets magnified with crowded commutes, delays and bus bridges. For example, rather than stick to the standard rail track width of 4 feet, 8.5 inches, BART engineers debuted a 5-foot, 6-inch width track, a gauge that remains to this day almost exclusive to the system. Industry experts say the unique track width necessitates custom-made wheel sets, brake assemblies and track repair vehicles.

Another problem is the dearth of readily available replacement parts for BART's one-of-a-kind systems. Maintenance crews often scavenge parts from old, out-of-service cars to avoid lengthy waits for orders to come in; sometimes mechanics are forced to manufacture the equipment themselves. "Imagine a computer produced in 1972," says David Hardt. "No one is supporting that old equipment any longer, but those same microprocessors are what we have controlling our logic systems." Right now BART needs 100 thyristors at a total cost of $100,000. BART engineers said it could take 22 weeks to ship them to the San Francisco Bay Area to replace in BART’s "C" cars, which make up the older cars in the fleet. Right now, the agency has none. Nick Josefowitz says it makes no sense to dwell on design decisions made a half-century ago. "I think we need to use what we have today and build off that, rather than fantasize what could have been done in the past. The BART system was state of the art when it was built, and now it's technologically obsolete and coming to the end of its useful life."

Submission + - Stunning: Ultra-HD View of the Sun; Timelapse Video of 2015 (

NW7US writes: This is a stunning timelapse view of the entire year, 2015, of the Sun in action, rotating once every 25 days. SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The images shown here are based on a wavelength of 171 angstroms, which is in the extreme ultraviolet range and shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin (about 1 million degrees F.) In this wavelength it is easy to see the sun's 25-day rotation.

During the course of the video, the sun subtly increases and decreases in apparent size. This is because the distance between the SDO spacecraft and the sun varies over time. The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that SDO orbits Earth at 6,876 mph and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour.

Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too: Flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space. Moreover, studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. built, operates, and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.

Full story:

Submission + - Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle (

schwit1 writes: About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can't be found in any history books-the written word didn't become common in these parts for another 2000 years-but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology.

"If our hypothesis is correct that all of the finds belong to the same event, we're dealing with a conflict of a scale hitherto completely unknown north of the Alps," says dig co-director Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist at the Lower Saxony State Service for Cultural Heritage in Hannover. "There's nothing to compare it to." It may even be the earliest direct evidence-with weapons and warriors together-of a battle this size anywhere in the ancient world.

Submission + - Finnish Passenger Train Traffic Opens for Competition (

jones_supa writes: Finland's railway network operator VR (Valtion Rautatiet) may see its traditional monopoly on domestic passenger train traffic weakened next year when new legislation will introduce limited competition to the railway sector. Chief Minna Kivimäki from the Ministry of Transport and Communications says that preparations are in their final stages, and that widespread interest among railroad tycoons has already been generated. More than ten different parties have indicated that they would be interested in joining in, many from abroad. The ministry says that the measures to introduce direct competition would concern the country's entire rail network, with the exception of the local Helsinki region transport area. One domestic company that has expressed interest is the Scottish discount bus firm Onnibus, which already runs a successful bus operation in Finland. The terrain of Finland's railway network is unique and a solution has to be created that suits the country's traffic volumes and distribution best. Kivimäki promises that quieter railway routes with fewer passengers won't be forgotten in the partial-privatization process, either.

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