Science and technology news culled from approximately 4,500 news sources worldwide.
News for nerds, stuff that matters
The Joy of the Flash Drive Mar 16, 2008
- An anonymous reader writes "A post to the C Net site covers the numerous benefits of flash drives, such as speed, temperature, and battery consumption. The perk author Michael Kanellos is most fond of? The distinct lack of noise. 'The notebook I'm testing--a Dell Latitude D830 with a 64GB flash hard drive from Samsung--hasn't emitted a sound in three days. Flash drives, which store data in NAND flash memory, don't require motors or spinning platters. Thus, there are no whirring mechanical noises. Compare that with my T42 ThinkPad. It sounds like a guinea pig got trapped inside, particularly during the start-up phase. Vzoooot. Cronk, cronk, cronk. Zip, zip. (Pause.) Gurlagurlagurla...zweeee. '" at Slashdot.
The Uncertain Future of Global Population Numbers Mar 16, 2008
- An anonymous reader writes "The question of global population is a pretty crucial one; how many people will there be in ten years? In forty? The New York Times notes research done by a group called the Worldwatch Institute, research that concludes world population figures are too fluid to make any sort of educated guesses. Childbearing populations combined with severe resource shortages in some parts of the world make pinning down a global headcount unfeasible for ten years from now, let alone out to 2050. The article continues beyond its original borders, as well, with commenters in the field of population studies noting we don't even have a good grasp on how many people are alive in 2007." at Slashdot.
Spam King Pleads Guilty in Seattle Mar 16, 2008
- arbitraryaardvark writes "The Seattle Times reports that spammer Robert Soloway has pled guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion, in exchange for the state dropping multiple counts of identify theft. 'The electronic-mail fraud charge is punishable by up to five years in prison. The tax charge is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum one-year sentence. The law also allows for fines against Soloway and his business of up to $625,000 on all charges. Both sides agreed to let U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman determine not just the amount of prison time Soloway, 28, might serve but also the number of his victims, the size of any fine and the amount of restitution he may be ordered to pay.' We've previously discussed his arrest and mention in the New Yorker. The wire fraud felony count is based on selling $500 packages to wannabe spammers." at Slashdot.
Sweden to Give Courts New Power to Hunt IP Infringers Mar 16, 2008
- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The Swedish Culture & Justice ministers are preparing to give new power to Swedish courts to let them force ISPs to give up subscriber IPs. The end goal is trying subscribers in court for copyright infringement. As the one-time home of the Pirate Bay, which is now internationally distributed, they face both US pressure and push-back at home. The Swedish arm of the Pirate Party is calling this move a 'sanctioned blackmailing operation', but hopefully the Swedish courts won't allow the IFPI to use as many tricks as the RIAA has in US courts." at Slashdot.
Hacking the Tux Droid Mar 15, 2008
- Rockhopper writes "Ars Technica has a combo review/hack guide for the Tux Droid, a programmable penguin. 'Tux is completely programmable at practically every level, and all of the source code of the firmware and software used by the droid is available from Kysoh's version control repository. There are several ways to program the droid's behavior, ranging from modifying the firmware to coding a gadget in Python.' There's a sample Python script that will cause Tux to speak IRC messages out loud when the user's name is mentioned." at Slashdot.
Wikileaks Publishes FBI VoIP Surveillance Docs Mar 15, 2008
- An anonymous reader writes "The folks on wikileaks have published a new interesting and shocking report: FBI Electronic Surveillance Needs for Carrier-Grade Voice over Packet (CGVoP) Service. The 88 paged document, which is part of the CALEA Implementation Plan was published in January 2003 and describes in detail all needs for surveillance of phone calls made via data services like the internet. Wikileaks has not published any analysis yet, so maybe some of the techies hanging around this end of the internet are interested in taking that one on." at Slashdot.
Class Action Complaint Against RIAA Now Online Mar 15, 2008
- NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Recommended reading for all interested in the RIAA's litigation war against p2p file sharing is the amended class action complaint just filed in Oregon in Andersen v. Atlantic. This landmark 109-page document (pdf) tells both the general story of the RIAA's campaign against ordinary folks, and the specific story of its harassment of Tanya Andersen, and even of her young daughter. The complaint includes federal and state RICO claims, as well as other legal theories, and alleges that "The world's four major recording studios had devised an illegal enterprise intent on maintaining their virtually complete monopoly over the distribution of recorded music." The point has been made by one commentator that the RIAA won't be able to weasel its out of this one by simply withdrawing it; this one, they will have to answer for. If the relief requested in the complaint is granted, the RIAA's entire campaign will be shut down for good." at Slashdot.
Google's New Patent on Commercial Breaks Mar 15, 2008
- theodp writes "What could be more annoying than having ads precede online videos? How about having commercials interrupt the videos? That's the premise behind a newly-published Google patent application for Using Viewing Signals in Targeted Video Advertising." at Slashdot.
The REAL Reason We Use Linux Mar 15, 2008
- Vlad Dolezal writes "We tell people we use Linux because it's secure. Or because it's free, because it's customizable, because it has excellent community support... But all of that is just marketing BS. We tell that to non-Linux users because they wouldn't understand the REAL reason." The answer to his question probably won't surprise you. at Slashdot.
What You Don't Know About Living in Space Mar 15, 2008
- Ant writes "There are spectacular moments, as well as the mundane, in space. Over the years, living in space has forced astronauts to make a few concessions to things you would not give a second thought about when staying at a hotel/motel. The article lists a few things that people may not have known about living in space." Your iPod needs to be modified to use Alkaline batteries. And also, did you know... that in space... you only get one spooooon. And some people, are spoon millionaires... at Slashdot.
A New Concept in Supercomputers Mar 15, 2008
- Steve Kerrison writes "With the power of CPUs ever-increasing and the number of cores in a system increasing too, having a supercomputer sit under your desk is no longer a pipe dream. But generally speaking, the extreme high end of modern computing consists of a big ugly box housing that generates a lot of noise. A UK system integrator has developed a concept PC that blows that all away. The eXtreme Concept PC (XCP) has quite a romantic design story, with inspiration coming from concept cars and the sarcophagus-like Cray T90. The end result is a system that resembles a Cylon — computing power never looked so ominous. Although just a concept, the company behind the design reckons there could be a (small) market for the systems, with varying levels of compute power accompanied by appropriate (say, LN2) cooling." at Slashdot.
Breakdowns of Website Defacement by Platform Mar 15, 2008
- SkiifGeek writes "Zone-H have recently posted the statistical breakdown of the collected website defacements from the last few years. Surprisingly, in 2007 more Linux servers suffered a successful attack than all versions of Windows, combined. Similarly, more Apache installations were successfully attacked than all IIS versions combined. A day after posting this data, Zone-H have questioned the appropriateness of continuing to operate the archive. Despite the valuable information that can be gleaned from the service, it may soon be lost to the world. The natural successor to the now-defunct Alldas archive of defaced websites, Zone-H's archive maintains records of over 2.6 million defaced sites but may be shut down due to the continuous accusations of impropriety leveled against them any time they disclose and mirror a reported defacement." at Slashdot.
Man-in-the-Middle Attack on MySpace with Cain Mar 15, 2008
- Slimjim100 writes "Last year at ChicagoCon 2007, Brian Wilson gave a great talk entitled "Cain & Abel: Windows Can Hack, Too!" Although the presentation and audio recording of the talk can be downloaded from the ChicagoCon site at Library, I had totally forgotten to publish his videos. Just in case things didn't go as planned during the live event or his laptop crapped out on him, Brian made a video of the MITM attack he demonstrated using Cain. You get to see how Myspace and other social networking sites are not designed with security in mind." at Slashdot.
Swarm Robot Immune System? Mar 15, 2008
- schliz writes "Researchers are investigating large swarms of up to 10,000 miniature robots which can work together to form a single, artificial life form. A resulting artificial immune system is expected to be able to detect faults and make recommendations to a high-level control system about corrective action — much like how a person's natural immune system is able to cope with unfamiliar pathogens." at Slashdot.
Comcast Kicks Tires On 100-Gig Optical Links Mar 15, 2008
- Balistyx writes to mention that Comcast has announced the first test of 100-gigabit-per-second optical networking equipment designed to carry data over a production fiber network. The trial equipment will connect Philadelphia and McLean, VA. "In November, Verizon said it completed the first field test of 100-Gbps optical transmission on a live 312-mile network route between Tampa, Fla., and Miami. The telco's test used a live video feed from the FiOS TV network, and optical equipment from Alcatel-Lucent. Comcast's test is different, according to Schanz, for several reasons: It's running live traffic, and the 100-Gbps wavelengths in the Comcast trial are running over the same physical fiber as its existing 40-Gbps wavelengths, which are handled by Cisco Systems gear." at Slashdot.