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[#] Fri Mar 20 2009 20:15:00 EDT from rss

Subject: A Look at Excessive Portable Storage

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Tom's Hardware has an interesting look at portable storage devices that fall a little outside of the normal bell curve. The reviewed items include Buffalo's all-flash portable storage drive, Chaintech's flash SSD w/ an additional USB port, and LaCie's state-of-the-art RAID drive based on two 2.5" drives. LaCie's drive seemed to come out on top for usability and performance with the main downside being the $600 pricetag and lack of adequate backup software, but all had interesting advantages.

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/gFO0RwA6McU/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 20 2009 21:02:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Fermilab Discovers Untheorized Particle

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alevy writes to mention that scientists at Fermilab have detected a new, completely untheorized particle. Seems like Fermi has been a hotbed of activity lately with the discovery of a new single top quark and narrowing the gap twice on the Higgs Boson particle. "The Y(4140) particle is the newest member of a family of particles of similar unusual characteristics observed in the last several years by experimenters at Fermilab's Tevatron as well as at KEK and the SLAC lab, which operates at Stanford through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. 'We congratulate CDF on the first evidence for a new unexpected Y state that decays to J/psi and phi,' said Japanese physicist Masanori Yamauchi, a KEK spokesperson. 'This state may be related to the Y(3940) state discovered by Belle and might be another example of an exotic hadron containing charm quarks. We will try to confirm this state in our own Belle data.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/D2Eker_c__4/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 20 2009 21:49:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Piracy Case Could Change Canadian Web Landscape

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meatheadmike writes to tell us that a recent Canadian court case brought against the Canadian Recording Industry Association by isoHunt Web Technologies, Inc, could drastically change the web landscape in Canada. "The question before the British Columbia Supreme Court is if a site such as isoHunt allows people to find a pirated copy of movies such as Watchmen or The Dark Knight, is it breaching Canadian copyright law? 'It's a huge can of worms," said David Fewer, acting director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa. 'I am surprised that this litigation has gone under the radar as much as it has. I do think this is the most important copyright litigation going on right now.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/XFax7EUlmw8/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 20 2009 22:30:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Internet Could Act As Ecological Early Warning System

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Wired is reporting that ecologists think the internet could act as an early ecological warning system based on data mining human interactions. While much of this work has been based on systems like Google Flu Trends, the system will remain largely theoretical for the near future. "The six billion people on Earth are changing the biosphere so quickly that traditional ecological methods can't keep up. Humans, though, are acute observers of their environments and bodies, so scientists are combing through the text and numbers on the Internet in hopes of extracting otherwise unavailable or expensive information. It's more crowd mining than crowd sourcing."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/3cq3HHt3c-4/article.pl

[#] Fri Mar 20 2009 23:18:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Obama Administration Promises "Thorough Review" of USTR Policies

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After all of the uproar surrounding some of the Obama administration's recent decisions, trade officials have promised a thorough review of the USTR policies regarding transparency. In an effort to ensure that the review includes all possible angles, the USTR is urging groups to make other proposals as well. "KEI is very impressed with the USTR decision to undertake a review of USTR transparency efforts. They are taking this much further than simply reviewing policies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or recent controversies over the secrecy surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations. The review offers the possibility of more transformative changes, including pro-active measures to enhance transparency, covering all aspects of USTR operations, including multilateral, plurilateral, regional, bilateral and unilateral trade policies and negotiations. We are also grateful that USTR is offering to have a continuing dialogue on this issues. KEI will offer additional suggestions on transparency to USTR, and we encourage others to do so also."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/xyAyGH98uaw/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 00:04:00 EDT from rss

Subject: FSF Files Amicus Brief In RIAA Case

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NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The Free Software Foundation has requested permission to file an amicus curiae brief in an RIAA case, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, defending the defendant's Due Process defense to the RIAA's claim for statutory damages. In the brief [PDF], FSF cites some of the leading authorities for the defense, including the 2003 decision of the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Parker v. Time Warner, which held that excessive statutory damages are subject to the same due process test applicable to punitive damage awards by juries. Additionally, the brief cites three 3 district court decisions, including UMG v. Lindor, and 2 law review articles — all of which deal specifically with Copyright Act statutory damages applicable to infringement of an MP3 file — to like effect."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/lnZSVpJD_dw/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 00:56:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Oracle's Take On Red Hat Linux

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darthcamaro writes "For nearly three years, Oracle has had its own version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, claiming the two versions are essentially the same thing. But are they really? As it turns out, there are a few things on which Oracle and Red Hat do not see eye-to-eye, including file systems and virtualization. The article quotes Wim Coekaerts, Oracle's director of Linux engineering, saying, 'A lot of people think Oracle is doing Enterprise Linux as just basically a rip off of Red Hat but that's not what this is about. ... This is about a support program, and wanting to offer quality Linux OS support to customers that need it. The Linux distribution part is there just to make sure people can get a freely available Linux operating system that is fully supported.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/KBfbW8xEfUU/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 02:58:00 EDT from rss

Subject: eBay Describes the Scale of Its Counterfeit Goods Problem

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Ian Lamont writes "As the Tiffany vs. eBay lawsuit winds its way through a federal appeals court, eBay has trotted out some numbers that show how many sellers attempt to sell fake goods on the auction site. Millions of auctions were delisted last year, and tens of thousands of accounts were suspended after reports were made to eBay's Verified Rights Owner program, which lets trademark owners notify eBay of fake goods being sold on the site. eBay says 100% of reported listings were removed from the site last year, most within 12 hours, and the company uses sellers' background information to make sure that they don't create new accounts to sell delisted items. Tiffany brought the suit against eBay in 2004, alleging that eBay was turning a blind eye to counterfeit luxury goods and demanding that eBay police its listings for bogus goods. Tiffany lost the case last July and will shortly present its arguments to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. A similar case in France cost eBay $61 million."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/FSPFZfpH7FI/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 05:01:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Report Links Russian Intelligence Agencies To Cyber Attacks

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narramissic writes "A report released Friday by a group of cyber-security experts from greylogic finds it is very likely that the Foreign Military Intelligence agency (the GRU) and Federal Security Service (the FSB) directed cyber attacks on Georgian government servers in July and August of 2008. 'Following a complex web of connections, the report claims that an Internet service provider connected with the Stopgeorgia.ru web site, which coordinated the Georgian attacks, is located next door to a Russian Ministry of Defense Research Institute called the Center for Research of Military Strength of Foreign Countries, and a few doors down from GRU headquarters.' But Paul Ferguson, a researcher with Trend Micro who has reviewed the report, says it's a 'bit of a stretch' to conclude that the Georgia attacks were state-sponsored. 'You can connect dots to infer things, but inferring things does not make them so,' he said. One other interesting allegation in the report is that a member of the Whackerz Pakistan hacking group, which claimed responsibility for defacing the Indian Eastern Railway Web site on Dec. 24, 2008, is employed by a North American wireless communications company and presents an 'insider threat' for his employer."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/A1yk2BfE4Mg/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 07:05:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Sony Charges Publishers For DLC Bandwidth Usage

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tlhIngan writes "Since October 1, 2008, Sony has been billing game publishers for DLC bandwidth usage. The game companies are forced to pay 16 cents per gigabyte downloaded by users (the 'Playstation Network Fee') regardless of whether the content is free or paid. The good news is that free content will only be billed during the initial 60 days it's up, but paid content will require fees forever. (No word on whether free content will mysteriously disappear after 60 days, though.) Given that some popular game demos run over a gigabyte by themselves, it could easily start costing publishers serious money (16 cents each for a few million downloads adds up). So far, it hasn't cut down the content available (or few publishers have started pulling content), but it's too soon to tell. It should be noted that Microsoft isn't charging publishers any money for content on Xbox Live, though some may argue that the 'gold premium content' is the same thing." Perhaps this is one of the reasons various publishers are pressuring Sony for a PS3 price cut.

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/wGKTQXuqFw8/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 10:11:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Nanotube Muscles Are Strong As Steel, Light As Air

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Al writes "Scientists from the University of Texas at Dallas have created nanotube-based artificial muscles that are light as air and work even under extreme temperatures. The 'muscles' expand width-wise by about 200 percent when a voltage is applied, but are stronger than steel lengthwise. The nanotubes within the fiber naturally stick together. Applying a voltage makes them obtain a charge and repel one another. The researchers created them by stretching bundles of entangled carbon nanotubes into long threads. Several cool videos show the strange stuff in action. Some experts, including one from NASA, believe that the nanotube muscles' ability to withstand extreme heat and cold could make them suitable shape-shifting materials for future space missions."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/DicuMERASEs/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 13:15:00 EDT from rss

Subject: DC Fires Tech Contractors, Puts Employees On Leave

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theodp writes "After Gov. Tim Kaine intervened on his behalf, Vivek Kundra was quietly reinstated to his Federal CIO post on Tuesday after a brief leave following an FBI raid on Kundra's former DC office (Kundra was not implicated). Now, the Washington Post reports that the City of DC plans to fire 23 Technology Office contractors and place 4 employees on leave in the aftermath of the arrests of a Security manager and contractor on bribery charges last week. Another government employee has since been arrested for his role in the scam, and the mayor has promised that the tech office will undergo a 'full and formal review.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/oVPnfRQaphc/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 14:16:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

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The Bad Astronomer writes "In Texas, a state legislator wants the ironically-named Institute for Creation Research to be able to grant a Masters degree in science. In fact, the bill submitted to the Texas congress would make it legal for any private group calling themselves educational to be able to grant advanced degrees in science. So, now's your chance: that lack of a PhD in Astrology and Alchemy won't hold you back any longer." The Institute for Creation Research made a similar request to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board last year, but were shot down.

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/GHSp-BQ1F7Y/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 15:15:00 EDT from rss

Subject: John Mather On the Building of the James Webb Space Telescope

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Nancy Atkinson writes "Why is the James Webb Space Telescope (scheduled to launch in 2013) taking so long to build? Hasn't it had a huge cost over-run and several delays? Nobel Prize winner John Mather is the Project Scientist for JWST, and he addresses these questions and more in an in-depth interview, one of the few he's given about this next-generation telescope and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. Quoting: 'The hardest thing to build was the mirror, because we needed something that is way bigger than Hubble. But you can't possibly lift something that big or fit it into a rocket, so you need something that is lighter weight but nonetheless larger, so it has to have the ability to fold up. The mirror is made of light-weight beryllium, and has 18 hexagonal segments. The telescope folds up like a butterfly in its chrysalis and will have to completely undo it self. It's a rather elaborate process that will take many hours. The telescope is huge, at 6.5 meters (21 feet), so it's pretty impressive.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/3Tt9m505NJM/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 16:18:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Blizzard Asserts Rights Over Independent Add-Ons

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bugnuts writes "Blizzard has announced a policy change regarding add-ons for the popular game World of Warcraft which asserts requirements on UI programmers, such as disallowing charging for the program, obfuscation, or soliciting donations. Add-ons are voluntarily-installed UI programs that add functionality to the game, programmed in Lua, which can do various tasks that hook into the WoW engine. The new policy has some obvious requirements, such as not loading the servers or spamming users, and it looks like an attempt to make things more accessible and free for the end user. But unlike FOSS, it adds other requirements that assert control over these independently coded programs, such as distribution and fees. Blizzard can already control the ultimate functionality of add-ons by changing the hooks into the WoW engine. They have exercised this ability in the past, e.g. to disable add-ons that automate movement and facilitate 'one-button' combat. Should they be able to make demands on independent programmers' copyrighted works, such as forbidding download fees or advertising, when those programmers are not under contract to code for Blizzard? Is this like Microsoft asserting control over what programmers may code for Windows?"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/_25Qk5c1hjs/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 17:18:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Researchers Ponder Conficker's April Fool's Activation Date

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The Narrative Fallacy writes "John Markoff has a story at the NY Times speculating about what will happen on April 1 when the Conficker worm is scheduled to activate. Already on an estimated 12 million machines, conjectures about Conficker's purpose ranges from the benign — an April Fool's Day prank — to far darker notions. Some say the program will be used in the 'rent-a-computer-crook' business, something that has been tried previously by the computer underground. 'The most intriguing clue about the purpose of Conficker lies in the intricate design of the peer-to-peer logic of the latest version of the program, which security researchers are still trying to completely decode,' writes Markoff. According to a paper by researchers at SRI International, in the Conficker C version of the program, infected computers can act both as clients and servers and share files in both directions. With these capabilities, Conficker's authors could be planning to create a scheme like Freenet, the peer-to-peer system that was intended to make Internet censorship of documents impossible. On a darker note, Stefan Savage, a computer scientist at the University of California at San Diego, has suggested the possibility of a 'Dark Google.' 'What if Conficker is intended to give the computer underworld the ability to search for data on all the infected computers around the globe and then sell the answers,' writes Markoff. 'That would be a dragnet — and a genuine horror story.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/TmoZvedNAbE/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 18:20:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Programming Language Specialization Dilemma

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aremstar writes "I'm a final-year Computer Science student from the UK. During my studies, we covered 3 programming languages: C, C++ and Java. The issue is that we didn't cover any of these languages in sufficient depth for me to claim that I have commercial-ready experience. It's one thing being able to write simple programs for class assignments, but those are quite different from writing something as complex as the Linux kernel or a multi-threaded banking app. I'm thinking of spending a few weeks/months studying in order to specialize in one of those languages. Fortran also entered my consideration, as it is great for numerical computing and used by many financial institutions, banks, etc. In terms of skill requirements in job ads, my (brief) experience suggests that most programming jobs require C++, with Java a close second. C — unfortunately — doesn't appear as much. My question is: if you were in my shoes, which language would win your time investment? My heart suggests C, with a little bit of Fortran to complement it, but I'm a bit worried that there might not be enough demand in the job market."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/4xqQF_C6CKo/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 19:25:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Ballmer Scorns Apple As a $500 Logo

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theodp writes "Speaking at a conference in NYC, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did his best to refan the flames of the Mac vs. PC rivalry: 'Now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction [against Apple],' Ballmer said. 'The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment — same piece of hardware — paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/303cukmPR-Y/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 20:31:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Major Rogue Anti-Virus Program Shut Down

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krebsatwpost writes "TrafficConverter.biz, one of the more notorious pay-per-install affiliate programs, was dismantled this week after media attention caused Visa and Mastercard to shut down the group's payment operations. The action comes just a few days after a report by The Washington Post that showed some affiliates were making more than $100,000 USD a week installing rogue anti-virus software. The credit card industry may have been spurred by the fact that the first version of the Conficker worm told infected systems to download a file from TrafficConverter, although the story posits that this could have been an attempted Joe Job rather than a blatant attempt to drum up more installs."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/obuz_KgVJfw/article.pl

[#] Sat Mar 21 2009 21:37:00 EDT from rss

Subject: No Business Case For IPv6, Survey Finds

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alphadogg writes "Business incentives are completely lacking today for upgrading to IPv6, the next generation Internet protocol, according to a survey of network operators conducted by the Internet Society (ISOC). In a new report, ISOC says that ISPs, enterprises and network equipment vendors report that there are 'no concrete business drivers for IPv6.' However, survey respondents said customer demand for IPv6 is on the rise and that they are planning or deploying IPv6 because they feel it is the next major development in the evolution of the Internet."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/xQ39nWu_lbU/article.pl

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