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[#] Tue Apr 07 2009 19:58:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Largest High-Tech Tornado Chase Set To Begin

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coondoggie writes "Next month, with the help of a variety of high-tech gear, researchers will begin a wide-ranging project to better understand the origin, structure and evolution of tornadoes. The National Science Foundation has given $9.1 million to the project called Vortex2 (of course it has a convoluted backronym), which will take place from May 10-June 13. Researchers say Vortex2 is the largest attempt in history to study tornadoes, and will involve more than 50 scientists, 40 research vehicles, and 10 mobile radars, and will cover 900 square miles in southern South Dakota, western Iowa, eastern Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, the Texas panhandle, and western Oklahoma."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/tQujbC8RxEw/article.pl

[#] Wed Apr 08 2009 00:00:00 EDT from rss

Subject: US Gov. Releases Six Pages On Secret ACTA Pact

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narramissic writes "Change is afoot at the Office of the US Trade Representative. New details have been released about an anti-counterfeiting trade agreement that has been discussed in secret among the US, Japan, the European Union and other countries since 2006. Although the six-page summary (PDF) provides little in the way of specific detail about the current state of negotiations, the release represents a change in policy at the USTR, which had argued in the past that information on the trade pact was 'properly classified in the interest of national security.'" Michael Geist has a timeline that puts together more details about the ACTA negotiations than any government has so far been willing to reveal.

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/LOInXBC6zh4/article.pl

[#] Wed Apr 08 2009 00:50:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Major League Baseball Dumps Silverlight For Flash

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christian.einfeldt writes "This week, Major League Baseball will open without Microsoft's Silverlight at the plate, according to Bob Bowman, CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which handles much of the back-end operations for MLB and several other leagues and sporting events. The change, was decided last year but was set to be rolled out this spring. Among the causes of MLB's disillusionment with Silverlight were technical glitches users experienced, including needing administrator privileges to install the plugin (often impossible in workplaces). Baseball's opening day last year was plagued by Silverlight instability, with many users unable to log on and others unable to watch games. Adobe Flash already exists on 99% of user machines, said Bowman, and Adobe is 'committed to the customer experience in video with the Flash Player.' MLBAM's decision to dump Silverlight is particularly problematic for Microsoft's effort to compete with Adobe, due to the fact that MLBAM handles much of the back-end operations for CBS' Webcasts of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and this year will do the encoding for the 2009 Masters golf tournament."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/jz-LrzcjUYU/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 13 2009 05:06:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Grad Student Project Uses Wikis To Stash Data, Miffs Admins

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Anonymous writes "Two graduate students at the Ivy League's Brown University built a P2P system to use abandoned wiki sites to store data. The students were stealing bandwidth from open MediaWiki sites to send data between users as an alternative to BitTorrent. There was immediate backlash as site operators quickly complained to the University. The project appears to be shutdown, but many of the pages still remain on the web. The project homepage was also taken down and the students posted an apology this afternoon." The same submitter links to two different forum discussions on the project.

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/IHSWQ2u3GDQ/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 13 2009 02:22:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Volunteers Recover Lunar Orbiter 1 Photographs

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mikael writes "The LA Times is reporting on the efforts of a group of volunteers with funding from NASA to recover high resolution photographs of the Moon taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 in the 1960s. The collection of 2000 images is stored entirely on magnetic tape which can only be read by a $330,000 FR-900 Ampex magnetic tape reader. The team consisted of Nancy Evans, NASA's archivist who ensured that the 20-foot by 10-foot x 6-foot collection of magnetic tapes were never thrown out, Dennis Wingo, Keith Cowing of NASA Watch and Ken Zim who had experience of repairing video equipment. Two weeks ago, the second image, of the Copernicus Crater, was recovered."

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

[#] Mon Apr 13 2009 00:53:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Amazon Culls "Offensive" Books From Search System

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Miracle Jones writes "Amazon has instituted an overnight policy that removes books that may be deemed offensive from their search system, despite the sales rank of the book and also irrespective of any complaints. Bloggers such as Ed Champion are calling for a 'link and book boycott,' asking people to remove links to Amazon from their web pages and stop buying books from them until the policy is reversed. Will this be bad business for Amazon, or will their new policies keep them out of trouble as they continue to grow and replace bookstores?"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Nw0U0iWugPk/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 23:39:00 EDT from rss

Subject: The Low-Intensity, Brute-Force Zombies Are Back

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Peter N. M. Hansteen writes "In real life, zombies feed off both weak minds and the weak passwords they choose. When the distributed brute-force attempts stopped abruptly after a couple of months of futile pounding on ssh servers, most of us thought they had seen sense and given up. Now, it seems that they have not; they are back. 'This can only mean that there were enough successful attempts at guessing people's weak passwords in the last round that our unknown perpetrators found it worthwhile to start another round. For all I know they may have been at it all along, probing other parts of the Internet ...' The article has some analysis and links to fresh log data."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/fewl5QRJqtQ/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 22:11:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Time Warner Transfer Caps May Inspire Fair-Price Legislation

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Time Warner's recently announced plan to expand their broadband transfer caps to new markets drew heavy criticism, which prompted their attempt to smooth things over with a ridiculously expensive "unlimited" plan. That wasn't enough for New York Representative Eric Massa, who now says he will draft legislation to "curb tiers, particularly in areas where a broadband provider owns a monopoly on service." Massa said, "Time Warner believes they can do this in Rochester, NY; Greensboro, NC; and Austin and San Antonio, Texas, and it's almost certainly just a matter of time before they attempt to overcharge all of their customers," adding, "I believe safeguards must be put in place when a business has a monopoly on a specific region."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/wmSSwdKbb3s/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 20:40:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Can rev="canonical" Replace URL-Shortening Services?

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Chris Shiflett writes "There's a new proposal ('URL shortening that doesn't hurt the Internet') floating around for using rev="canonical" to help put a stop to the URL-shortening madness. In order to avoid the great linkrot apocalypse, we can opt to specify short URLs for our own pages, so that compliant services (adoption is still low, because the idea is pretty fresh) will use our short URLs instead of TinyURL.com (or some other third-party alternative) replacements."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/nrmaqmgzK2M/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 19:11:00 EDT from rss

Subject: The Perils of Pointless Innovation In Games

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Negative Gamer is running a story discussing the need felt by the major game developers to create the next huge blockbuster, which often leads to innovation and change for their own sake rather than simply focusing on what makes a game fun. Quoting: "There seems to be this invisible pressure to create something that is highly 'intuitive' and incorporates the highest level of innovation that we have ever seen. The problem is that the newest ideas put into games are either gimmicky, terrible in execution, or blatantly ripping off another title. On the other hand there are series that feel the need to completely revamp a game that played perfectly fine before into something completely new that falls flat on its face. ... There's a critical problem with popular, mainstream video games that isn't as large with other mediums; they are expensive to make and require a lot of time and effort put in to create something masterful. With that, games must take cautious paths. I fully understand the risks, but adding unneeded material to certain games is not justifiable."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/46pUFCmhY_4/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 17:43:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Eavesdropping On Google Voice and Skype

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Simmons writes with news of research that demonstrated vulnerabilities in Skype and Google Voice that would have allowed attackers to eavesdrop on calls or place unauthorized calls of their own. "The attacks on Google Voice and Skype use different techniques, but essentially they both work because neither service requires a password to access its voicemail system. For the Skype attack to work, the victim would have to be tricked into visiting a malicious Web site within 30 minutes of being logged into Skype. In the Google Voice attack (PDF), the hacker would first need to know the victim's phone number, but Secure Science has devised a way to figure this out using Google Voice's Short Message Service (SMS). Google patched the bugs that enabled Secure Science's attack last week and has now added a password requirement to its voicemail system, the company said in a statement. ... The Skype flaws have not yet been patched, according to James." Reader EricTheGreen contributes related news that eBay may sell Skype back to its original founders.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/ARdgu6o1mI0/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 16:13:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Twitter Gets Slammed By the StalkDaily XSS Worm

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CurtMonash writes "Twitter was hit Saturday by a worm that caused victims' accounts to tweet favorably about the StalkDaily website. Infection occurred when one went to the profile page of a compromised account, and was largely spread by the kind of follower spam more commonly used by multi-level marketers. Apparently the worm was an XSS attack, exploiting a vulnerability created in a recent Twitter update that introduced support for OAuth, and it was created by the 17-year-old owner of the StalkDaily website. More information can be found in the comment thread to a Network World post I put up detailing the attack, or in the post itself. By evening, Twitter claimed to have closed the security hole."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/mV4B6Jn5vDY/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 14:44:00 EDT from rss

Subject: In Defense of the Anonymous Commenter

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Hugh Pickens writes "Doug Feaver has an interesting story in the Washington Post 'in defense of the anonymous, unmoderated, often appallingly inaccurate, sometimes profane, frequently off point and occasionally racist reader comments that washingtonpost.com allows to be published at the end of articles and blogs.' Feaver says that during his seven-year tenure as editor and executive editor of washingtonpost.com he kept un-moderated comments off the site, but now, four years after retiring, he says he has come to think that online comments are a terrific addition to the conversation, and that journalists need to take them seriously. 'The subjects that have generated the most vitriol during my tenure in this role are race and immigration,' writes Feaver. 'But I am heartened by the fact that such comments do not go unchallenged by readers. In fact, comment strings are often self-correcting and provide informative exchanges.' Feaver says that comments are also a pretty good political survey. 'The first day it became clear that a federal bailout of Wall Street was a real prospect, the comments on the main story were almost 100 percent negative. It was a great predictor of how folks feel, well out in front of the polls. We journalists need to pay attention to what our readers say, even if we don't like it. There are things to learn.'"

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

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 13:16:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Use apt-p2p To Improve Ubuntu 9.04 Upgrade

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An anonymous reader writes "With Jaunty Jackalope scheduled for release in 12 days on April 23, this blog posting describes how to switch to apt-p2p in preparation for the upgrade. This should help significantly to reduce the load on the mirrors, smooth out the upgrade experience for all involved, and bypass the numerous problems that have occurred in the past on Ubuntu release day. Remember to disable all third-party repositories beforehand."

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

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 10:32:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Paper Companies' Windfall of Unintended Consequences

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Jamie found a post on ScienceBlogs that serves as a stark example of the law of unintended consequences, as well as the ability of private industry to game a system of laws to their advantage. It seems that large paper companies stand to reap as much as $8 billion this year by doing the opposite of what an alternative-fuel bill intended. Here is the article from The Nation with more details and a mild reaction from a Congressional staffer. "[T]he United States government stands to pay out as much as $8 billion this year to the ten largest paper companies.... even though the money comes from a transportation bill whose manifest intent was to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, paper mills are adding diesel fuel to a process that requires none in order to qualify for the tax credit. In other words, we are paying the industry — handsomely — to use more fossil fuel. 'Which is,' as a Goldman Sachs report archly noted, the 'opposite of what lawmakers likely had in mind when the tax credit was established.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/dQDxAgmS-SQ/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 07:49:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Closing Time At Microsoft's Campus Pub

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theodp writes "Just three days before the Spitfire pub was to open on Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division campus, TechFlash reports that Microsoft got cold feet and pulled the plug on the project, leaving the bar's owner and his 22 employees in the lurch. 'I am completely stunned and disappointed by the decision,' said now lease-less owner Jonathan Sposato, who's stuck with space built out as a pub, complete with a giant bar, a fireplace, and eight beer taps. (He says it wouldn't be economically viable to refit it as a restaurant.) Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos confirmed the company's sudden change of heart: 'The goal was always to create a cool gathering place for employees, but to do so in a manner that's consistent with a business environment. We decided we should do something more appropriate, and that meant not having a pub.' The new pub had been in development for more than a year."

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/99DEpX_9WXI/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 05:03:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Sweden Sees Boom In Legal Downloading

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Quantos writes with word that in Sweden, in addition to a drop in traffic following the introduction of the IPRED anti-file sharing law, the country also saw a doubling of legal downloads. "The sale of music via the Internet and mobile phones has increased by 100 percent since the Swedish anti-file sharing IPRED law entered into force last week, according to digital content provider InProdicon. '...I don't know if this is only because of IPRED, but it is definitely a sign of a major change,' said managing director Klas Brännström. InProdicon provides half of the downloaded tunes in Sweden via several online and mobile music services." Meanwhile The Pirate Bay's anticipated VPN service has seen over 113,000 requests for beta invitations since late last month; 80% are from Sweden. Traffic numbers may begin to rise again once the service goes live.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/48Y-RfuXQIw/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 12 2009 03:07:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Goldman Sachs Tries To Shut Down Dissident Blogger

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The Narrative Fallacy sends along a piece from the Telegraph on efforts by Goldman Sachs to silence a blogger who is posting commentary critical of the bank. "Goldman Sachs has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website goldmansachs666.com. According to the C&D letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site 'violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights' and also 'implies a relationship' with the bank itself. Morgan claims he has followed all legal requirements to own and operate the website and that the header of the site clearly states that the content has not been approved by the bank. In a post entitled Goldman Sachs vs Mike Morgan, the blogger predicts that the fight will probably end up in court. He went through a similar battle with US home builder Lennar a few years ago after he set up a website to collect information on what he alleged was shoddy workmanship in its homes. 'Since I went through this with Lennar, I've had advice from some of the best intellectual property lawyers, and I know exactly what I can and can't do. We're not going to back down from this.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/L39K0Y-NsRc/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 13 2009 08:11:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Game Developers On Gold Selling

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Eurogamer has an article which takes a look at how various game companies deal with gold spammers in their games. Some, like Mythic, take a hard stance, literally telling farmers and sellers to "go to hell." Others engage in an arms race to block such behavior, sometimes to the detriment of normal users. "In fact, a former Jagex source tells me that when Jagex banned all IPs connected to gold selling, 'they lost 10 per cent of their membership, and still haven't recovered in terms of numbers since they did it two years ago. Even though they have almost stopped gold selling in RuneScape, it has cost them two million active accounts; i.e. there were four million players, there are now two million players, of which less than one million actually subscribe.'" Still more companies are experimenting with real money trading (RMT) to at least establish some control and security over the situation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/pGFWK-kHXgI/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 13 2009 10:53:00 EDT from rss

Subject: UK To Train Pro-West Islamic Groups To Game Google

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Hugh Pickens writes "The British government's Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a 200-strong Home Office unit created 18 months ago, has said in meetings it wants to 'flood the internet' with 'positive' interpretations of Islam and plans to train government-approved groups in search engine optimization techniques, which it is hoped will boost their profile online and battle radicalization. A Home Office spokesman confirmed search engine optimization training is part of the government's anti-radicalization strategy. 'In order to support mainstream voices, we work with local partners to help develop their communication, representational and leadership skills. This support could include media training, which can help make their voices heard more widely, and support the development of skills which allow communities to be more effective in debate.' However the effectiveness of search engine optimization in reducing traffic to extremist websites has been dismissed by academics. A report produced by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) said young Muslims were much more likely to be directed to extremist material online by web forums and offline associates than by Google or other search engines. 'Tweaking the results for supposedly extremist terms would be largely ineffectual, not least because it is unlikely that any but the most callow wannabe terrorist would use a mainstream search engine to find banned material.'"

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http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/q1dhH2ArZB4/article.pl

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