v3rgEz writes "Documents released by the FBI provide an unusual inside look at how the agency is struggling to penetrate 'darknet' Onion sites routed through Tor, the online privacy tool funded in part by government grants to help global activists. In this case, agents were unable to pursue specific leads about an easily available child pornography site, while files withheld indicate that the FBI has ongoing investigations tied to the Silk Road marketplace, a popular, anonymous Tor site for buying and selling drugs and other illegal materials." Sounds similar to the problems that plagued freenet.
First time accepted submitter discussM tipped us to a story about a recently granted patent in which "a system and method preventing unauthorized access to copyrighted academic texts is provided in which trademark licenses, discussion boards, and grade content are integrated into a web-based system that aligns the interests of teaching professionals, students, and publishers while also enhancing the overarching academic mission to create and disseminate knowledge." Quoting Torrent Freak: "As part of a course, students will have to participate in a web-based discussion board, an activity which counts towards their final grade. To gain access to the board students need a special code, which they get by buying the associated textbook." But don't worry too much, from Ars: "Beyond the legal questions, other experts suggested forcing students to buy texts through such a system is unlikely to be implemented. Professors have few incentives to make it more difficult and to compel students even more than they already are to buy textbooks, digital or analog. (A 2011 survey from UC Riverside found that 78 percent of undergraduates 'bought fewer books, bought cheaper books or read books on reserve to help meet expenses.')"
coondoggie writes with an update on the Mars Science Laboratory. From the article: "Even as it hurtles towards an August 5 rendezvous with the red planet, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is being fine-tuned for a more precise landing and better operations once it reaches its destination. NASA today gave a status report for the MSL which was launched November 2011, and is still over 17.5 million kilometers away from Mars. Of major interest today was the fact NASA said it has narrowed landing target for the Mars rover, Curiosity letting it touch down closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard, the agency said." From NASA: "The larger ellipse, 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) by 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) was already smaller than the landing target area for any previous Mars mission, due to this mission's techniques for improved landing precision. Continuing analysis after the Nov. 26, 2011, launch resulted in confidence in landing within an even smaller area [handy diagram], about 12 miles by 4 miles (20 by 7 kilometers). Using the smaller ellipse, the Mars Science Laboratory Project also moved the center of the target closer to the mountain, which holds geological layers that are the prime destination for the rover. ... 'We're trimming the distance we'll have to drive after landing by almost half,' said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager ... 'That could get us to the mountain months earlier.'"
An anonymous reader writes with news of Meebo's fate, a mere six days after being acquired by Google. From the article: "Meebo, which began in 2005 as a browser based instant messaging program, will now cease most of its services by next month. The IM service supported various IM platforms such as Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, ICQ, MySpaceIM, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, CafeMom and others." Their cash cow, the Meebo bar, will "...continue to be available to site publishers and will see continued improvements and new features in the weeks and months ahead." With Meebo killing off their messenger, are there any good Android chat alternatives that aren't tied to Google Talk?
zer0point writes "The law lets U.S. agencies monitor the communications of foreigners outside the U.S. But two senators are questioning whether a loophole allows the storage and search of messages from Americans that are picked up inadvertently while foreigners are being monitored. The intelligence community has repeatedly said it takes steps to minimize the data collected on Americans. Among the senators’ concerns: that the administration hasn’t been able to estimate how many people in the U.S. have had their information reviewed under the program."
itwbennett writes "A new report from Evidon, whose browser plug in Ghostery tracks Web trackers, makes it plain that 'if you want to worry about somebody tracking you across the Web, worry about Google,' writes blogger Dan Tynan. Google and Facebook, and their various services, occupy all of the top 5 slots on the Evidon Global Tracker Report's list of the most prolific trackers. 'And if you have any tracking anxiety left over, apply it to social networks like Facebook, G+, and Twitter,' adds Tynan."
alphadogg writes "Google's Vint Cerf and others are spearheading celebrations in Silicon Valley and the UK this month to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth. 'The man challenged everyone's thinking,' says Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, in an interview with Network World. 'He was so early in the history of computing, and yet so incredibly visionary about it.' Cerf — who is president-elect of the Association for Computing Machinery and general chair of that organization's effort to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of Turing's birth on June 23 — says that it's tough to overstate the importance of Turing's role in shaping the world of modern computing. Turing's accomplishments included his breakthrough Turing machine, cracking German military codes during WWII and designing a digital multiplier called the Automated Computing Machine."
First time accepted submitter TWToxicity writes "NuSTAR is to be launched from a Pegasus XL rocket carried by an Orbital Science Corp. L-1011 "Stargazer" plane. It will orbit at 550 km above Earth's surface. A week after launch, NuSTAR will deploy its 10 meter boom, which allows the telescope to focus X-rays and capture images that will help scientists survey black holes in other galaxies, study the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, and study supernovae to discover how atomic elements are formed."
Snirt writes "The Nobel Committee has chosen to lower this year's Nobel prize winnings by two million kronor ($283,030) due to turbulence in the current economic climate. The prize now stands at 8 million kronor, down from the 10 million of 2011. 'The reason behind this decision is that the financial markets are really unstable and there are reasons to suspect that this turbulence will continue for a while still,' said Lars Heikensten, head of the Nobel Committee, to the TT news agency. 'Long term, we aim to raise the figure, even though we think that the Nobel Prize's value should lie in the prize itself and not the prize money,' he said. While Heikensten admits that it was a 'tough decision' to cut the prize money, he told the news agency that it's not the first time the prize sum has been altered, adding that it has been lowered and raised several times over the past few years."
snydeq writes "IT professionals jumping into the cloud with both feet beware: It's irresponsible to think that just because you push a problem outside your office, it ceases to be your problem. It's not just the possibility of empty promises and integration issues that dog the cloud decision; it's also the upgrade to the new devil, the one you don't know. You might be eager to relinquish responsibility of a cranky infrastructure component and push the headaches to a cloud vendor, but in reality you aren't doing that at all. Instead, you're adding another avenue for the blame to follow. The end result of a catastrophic failure or data loss event is exactly the same whether you own the service or contract it out.'"
First time accepted submitter zer0point writes "Apple has just announced the next-generation Macbook Pro with a retina display. Starting today you can also order a MacBook Pro upgraded with Ivy Bridge CPUs, and Nvidia graphics. Mountain Lion got some various updates, and as expected iOS 6 was announced. In rumor news, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a note to investors, 'Based on the release schedule for iOS 6 GM, there is a very good chance iPhone 5 will start shipping also in early September.'"
First time accepted submitter anaphora writes "In this TED Talk, Rory Sutherland discusses the need for every company to have a staff member with the power to do big things but no budget to spend: these are the kinds of individuals who are not afraid to recommend cheap and effective ways to solve big company problems. This article argues that, in the IT world, this person is none other than a highly-skilled hacker. From the article: 'To the media, the term “hacker” refers to a user who breaks into a computer system. To a programmer, “hacker” simply means a great programmer. In the corporate IT field, hackers are both revered as individuals who get a lot done without a lot of resources but feared as individuals who may be a little more “loose cannon” than your stock IT employee. Telling your CEO you want to hire a hacker may not be the best decision for an IT manager, but actually hiring one may be the best decision you can make.'"
MarkWhittington writes "A Spanish company has created a bed that will make itself. Ordinarily I am excited about just about any technological advance, but this one leaves me wondering what it's good for. It might be that as a rather slovenly housekeeper, I do not see the purpose of making a bed. The idea of being able to bounce a coin off of a sheet that has been stretched tight seems to have been an invention of moms and drill sergeants to torment people. Why make up a bed in the morning when it's just going to be unmade that evening (or sooner if one likes an afternoon nap?) When I was a lad, dreaming of the wonders that awaited in the 21st century, among the flying cars, colonies on the moon and jet packs, self-making beds somehow escaped by imagination, even as my sainted mom forced me to make mine before heading out to school."
JohnBert writes "A security bug in MariaDB and MySQL has been revealed, allowing a known username and password to access the master user table of a MySQL server and dump it into a locally-stored file. By using a tool like John the Ripper, this file can be easily cracked to reveal text passwords that can provide further access. By committing a threaded brute-force module that abuses the authentication bypass flaw to automatically dump the password database, you can access the database using the cracked password hashes even if the authentication bypass vulnerability is fixed."
jfruh writes "Here's a pressing mystery: despite users spending an increasing amount on their mobile phones, mobiile advertising only produces 20% of the revenues per page that web advertising does. This seems like a big opportunity for somebody, but a whole complex of reasons might mean that it isn't just a matter of someone being smart enough to do mobile ads right. The whole advertising industry, which in many ways still resembles the Mad Men-era old boy's network, simply may not be equipped to cope."