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EU

US Activists Oppose US Govt Calls To Weaken EU Privacy Rules 151

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the lizard-people-lie dept.
judgecorp writes "The European Commission has proposals for data privacy (including the 'right to be forgotten') and the U.S. government is opposing them. Now U.S. activists have arrived in Brussels to lobby against their government's opposition to the European measures. The move comes following reports of 'extreme' lobbying by U.S. authorities against the European proposals." Although the "right to be forgotten" raises some free speech issues, it doesn't seem like a bad idea in principle.
The Almighty Buck

PayPal Preparing To Address Frozen Funds Policy 175

Posted by samzenpus
from the papers-please dept.
First time accepted submitter skywire writes "After years of forcing innocent customers to navigate a Kafkaesque process to unfreeze their funds, PayPal has announced that they are preparing major changes to alleviate the pain. From the article: 'The company routinely freezes funds for 21 days if it thinks there's a fraud risk, and its terms give it the right to extend the freeze for up to 180 days. To get access to their money, users are often asked to provide the kind of documentation that a product seller would have, like several months' worth of sales records. But if you're running a fundraiser or selling tickets to an upcoming conference, you don't have that paperwork. Even for those with extensive paper trails, the appeals process can take months to resolve. The Web is filled with enraged blog posts, websites like paypalsucks.com, and a Tumblr called "Conferences Burned by PayPal."'"
Earth

Earth May Have Been Hit By a Gamma-Ray Burst In 775 AD 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the charlemagne-smash! dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "Studies of carbon-14 in Japanese trees and beryllium-10 in Antarctic ice indicate the Earth was hit by a big radiation blast in 775 AD. Although very rare, occurring only once every million years or so, the most likely culprit is a gamma-ray burst, a cosmic explosion accompanying the birth of a black hole. While a big solar flare is still in the running, a GRB from merging neutron stars produces the ratio of carbon and beryllium observed, and also can explain why no bright explosion was seen at the time, and no supernova remnant is seen now."
Image

Book Review: A Gift of Fire 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
benrothke writes "In the 4th edition of A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology, author Sara Baase takes a broad look at the social, legal and ethical issues around technology and their implications. Baase notes that her primary goal in writing the book is for computer professionals to understand the implications of what they create and how it fits into society. The book is an interesting analysis of a broad set of topics. Combined with Baase's superb writing skills, the book is both an excellent reference and a fascinating read." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Programming

JavaScript Comes To Minecraft 149

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-it-out dept.
mikejuk writes "JavaScript is the language of the client and it is becoming the language of the server. Now it seems set to be the language of Minecraft. ScriptCraft is a Minecraft mod that can be added to the game to allow the player to use JavaScript commands. Walter Higgins ported the Rhino JVM implementation of JavaScript in a few spare weeks over Xmas. Some additional JavaScript classes allow the construction of blocks making it possible to automate construction. It also provides a 'turtle like' drone class that makes it easier to move in 3D. It makes use of a fluent API to create a domain specific language for movement. As its creator says: 'Ultimately I think the ScriptCraft mod could be used to take building in Minecraft to a whole new level. With a full-blown language at the Player's disposal, it should be possible to create not just castles and forts but entire road networks and cities.' Most importantly of all, it not only pushes the boundary of Minecraft, it also provides a way to get kids who are already hooked on Minecraft to start learning JavaScript."
Books

O'Reilly Giving Away Open Government As Aaron Swartz Tribute 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
jones_supa writes "The classic hacker book publisher O'Reilly is releasing their book Open Government for free as a tribute for Aaron Swartz. The book asks the question, in a world where web services can make real-time data accessible to anyone, how can the government leverage this openness to improve its operations and increase citizen participation and awareness? Through a collection of essays and case studies, leading visionaries and practitioners both inside and outside of government share their ideas on how to achieve and direct this emerging world of online collaboration, transparency, and participation. The files are posted on the O'Reilly Media GitHub account as PDF, Mobi, and EPUB files."
Government

UK Government To Use PayPal For Identity Assurance 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the paypal-approved dept.
judgecorp writes "A UK government contract has confirmed earlier reports that British citizens will have the option to use PayPal to accredit themselves for public services such as the new Universal Credit benefit system. Using PayPal might be a public relations goof, as PayPal's parent eBay is notoriously clever at avoiding UK taxes, recently paying only £1.2 million on profit of £789 million (around 0.15 percent)."
Businesses

Atari Files For Bankruptcy 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-more-combat dept.
First time accepted submitter halls-of-valhalla writes "Atari was one of the very first video game companies, starting way back in 1972. However, this long-running name that brought us titles like Pong and Asteroids is having major financial issues. Atari's United States branches have filed for bankruptcy on Sunday. This bankruptcy is an attempt to separate themselves from their French parent which has quite a bit of debt. The plan is to split from the French parent and find a buyer to form a private company."
Canada

Student Expelled From Montreal College For Finding "Sloppy Coding" 633

Posted by samzenpus
from the this-is-not-the-code-you-are-looking-for dept.
innocent_white_lamb writes "In what appears to be a more-and-more common occurrence, Ahmed Al-Khabez has been expelled from Dawson College in Montreal after he discovered a flaw in the software that the college (and apparently all other colleges across Quebec) uses to track student information. His original intention was to write a mobile app to allow students to access their college account more easily, but during the development of his app he discovered 'sloppy coding' that would allow anyone to access all of the information that the system contains about any student. He was initially ordered to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that he would never talk about the flaw that he discovered, and he was expelled from the college shortly afterward."
Earth

BEST Study Finds Temperature Changes Explained by GHG Emissions and Volcanoes 355

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
riverat1 writes "The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature studies latest release finds that land surface temperature changes since 1750 are nearly completely explained by increases in greenhouse gases and large volcanic eruptions. They also said that including solar forcing did not significantly improve the fit. Unlike the other major temperature records BEST used nearly all available temperature records instead of just a representative sample. Yet to come is an analysis that includes ocean temperatures."
United Kingdom

How Much Beef Is In Your Burger? 709

Posted by samzenpus
from the where's-the-beef dept.
dgharmon writes in with an interesting article about how much (or how little) beef is in a UK burger. "The presence of horsemeat in value beefburgers has caused a furore. But what is usually in the patties? It has been a sobering week for fans of the beefburger. Tesco have used full-page adverts in national newspapers to apologize for selling burgers in the UK that were found to contain 29% horsemeat. Traces of horse DNA were also detected by the Food Standards Agency of Ireland in products sold by Iceland, Lidl, Aldi and Dunnes. But a beefburger rarely contains 100% beef."
Security

Bad Grammar Make Bestest Password, Research Say 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-of-slang dept.
An anonymous reader writes "NewScientist reports, 'Along with birthdays, names of pets and ascending number sequences, add one more thing to the list of password no-nos: good grammar.' Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University seem to have developed a password cracking algorithm that targets grammatically correct passwords. Can bad grammar really make your password secure?"
Bug

Decade Old KDE Bug Fixed 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the finally-got-to-it dept.
hypnosec writes "How long does a bug take to get resolved? A week? A month? A year? Well, a bug prevalent in the KDE libraries since 2002 has finally been resolved after a decade it has been revealed. The bug was present in the "Reject Cross-Domain Cookies" feature of KDE Libraries. Thiago Macieira noted in the KDE Libraries Revision 974b14b8 that he observed that his web cookies were being forgotten following a kded restart."
Privacy

New York Pistol Permit Owner List Leaked 899

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-for-a-mashup dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Friday, The Journal News caved under pressure of gun advocates and shut down the interactive maps which contained the names and addresses of licensed gun owners in upstate New York. The maps are still visible on the site, however they are simply static images. The Journal News published the interactive maps on December 23 which caused significant backlash. In a similar move, Gawker published the names of licensed gun owners in New York City without addresses. New York state Senator Greg Ball (Republican) called the removal of the data a 'huge win.' On Saturday, an anonymous user leaked the raw data used to build The Journal News maps."

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