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Updated: 17 hours 30 min ago

Does Using an AOL Email Address Suggest You're a Tech Dinosaur?

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 18:56
Nerval's Lobster writes: Despite years of layoffs and tumbling net worth, AOL seemed to get a new lease on life this week when Verizon bought it for $4.4 billion. But even if AOL's still alive, using an AOL email address has long been seen as a way of signaling that you're stuck in the 1990s. A recent analysis of Dice data found that a mere 1.8 percent of those registering for the site used an AOL address, versus 55 percent for Gmail. For the past several years, Websites from Gizmodo to Lifehacker have all declared that still using an AOL email address is counterproductive, to put it mildly. But is that actually true? Do the people in your life and work actually care whether you use AOL, Hotmail, Gmail, or a custom address, or is the idea of 'email bias' an overblown myth?

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Third Bangladeshi Blogger Murdered In As Many Months

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 18:13
An anonymous reader writes: Ananta Bijoy Das blogged about science in Bangladesh, also sometimes tackling difficult issues about religion. He won an award in 2006 for "deep and courageous interest in spreading secular and humanist ideals and messages." He's now been murdered for his writings, the third Bangladeshi blogger to die in the past few months. Four masked assailants chased him down in broad daylight and attacked him with cleavers and machetes. The Committee to Protect Journalists says Das is the 20th writer to be murdered globally so far this year. Arrests have been made in Bangladesh for the murders of the previous two bloggers this year, but no convictions have yet been made. Das's murderers remain at large.

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After Over a Year of Police Action, Dark Net Black Markets Still Growing

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 17:30
When the original Silk Road was shut down in 2013, it provided definitive evidence that federal law enforcement was targeting online black markets. Later, after the fall of Silk Road 2.0 and the Evolution Market's admins running off with their customers' money, you might have expected people to become more wary of dark net markets — but that doesn't seem to be the case. The number of products being bought and sold is up significantly since last year, and it's quadrupled since the original Silk Road fell. "The most enduring institution on the Dark Net is Agora. Founded in December 2014, amid the rubble of Silk Road's fall, Agora now accounts for 37 percent of all Dark Net product listings. It's a drug-heavy market with substantial supplies in marijuana, ecstasy, prescription drugs, and stimulants—and nearly any other drug you can imagine."

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Dawn Spacecraft Gets a Better Look At Ceres' Bizarre 'White Spots'

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 16:48
StartsWithABang writes: Since its discovery as the first asteroid more than 200 years ago, Ceres has been one of the most poorly understood objects in the Solar System as even imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope is unable to resolve very much. But NASA's Dawn mission, since moving on from Vesta, has begun to map Ceres, constructing the highest resolution global map ever, with better data to come. The greatest mystery so far are two bright white spots at the bottom of a deep crater, brighter and more reflective than anything else on the planet's surface. Right now, three leading possibilities for the origin of these features exist, with Dawn possessing the capabilities to teach us which one (if any) is correct, hopefully by the end of the year!

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(Hack) and Slash: Doing the LORD's Work

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 16:06
Emmett Plant (former Slashdot editor as well as video interviewee) writes: Legend of the Red Dragon was written by Seth Robinson in 1989, and it remains one of the most popular games of the DOS BBS era. Chris England has been doing his part to keep the game alive for the past twelve years, adapting an installation that runs on Linux. I was only able to play for two days before I was overcome with curiosity -- I wrote to Chris, politely inquiring as to how it all came together. Read on below for a look into Chris's motivations, the state of the project, and just how deeply nested it can all get, when bringing games from early BBS days into the modern era.

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How Responsible Are App Developers For Decisions Their Users Make?

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 15:26
itwbennett writes: In a blog post, Rado Kotorov, Chief Innovation Officer at Information Builders asserts that the creators of enterprise apps implicitly assume some of the responsibility for other people's decision making. He says it's not just developers, but anyone who is involved, from defining the concept, to requirements gathering, to final implementation. Thus, the creators of the app have an ethical obligation to ensure that people can reach the right conclusions from the facts and the way they are presented in the app.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Bill Gates Still Trying To Buy Some Common Core Testing Love

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 14:45
theodp writes: "Bill Gates famously spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop, implement and promote the now controversial Common Core State Standards," reports the Washington Post's Valerie Strauss. "He hasn't stopped giving." In the last seven months, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has poured more than $10 million into implementation and parent support for the Core. Strauss adds: "Gates is the leader of education philanthropy in the United States, spending a few billion dollars over more than a decade to promote school reforms that he championed, including the Common Core, a small-schools initiative in New York City that he abandoned after deciding it wasn't working, and efforts to create new teacher evaluation systems that in part use a controversial method of assessment that uses student standardized test scores to determine the 'effectiveness' of educators. Such philanthropy has sparked a debate about whether American democracy is well-served by wealthy people who pour part of their fortunes into their pet projects — regardless of whether they are grounded in research — to such a degree that public policy and funding follow." If you're still on the fence about Common Core after viewing it, the Onion just came out with a nice list of the pros and cons of standardized testing that may help you decide.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Venom' Security Vulnerability Threatens Most Datacenters

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 14:02
An anonymous reader sends a report about a new vulnerability found in open source virtualization software QEMU, which is run on hardware in datacenters around the world (CVE-2015-3456). "The cause is a widely-ignored, legacy virtual floppy disk controller that, if sent specially crafted code, can crash the entire hypervisor. That can allow a hacker to break out of their own virtual machine to access other machines — including those owned by other people or companies." The vulnerable code is used in Xen, KVM, and VirtualBox, while VMware, Hyper-V, and Bochs are unaffected. "Dan Kaminsky, a veteran security expert and researcher, said in an email that the bug went unnoticed for more than a decade because almost nobody looked at the legacy disk drive system, which happens to be in almost every virtualization software." The vulnerability has been dubbed "Venom," for "Virtualized Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

SEC Charges ITT Educational Services With Fraud

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 13:20
mpicpp writes with news that ITT Educational Services, the company that operates for-profit college ITT Tech, has been charged with fraud over its student loan programs. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accuses the company of concealing poor financial performance from its investors. ITT formed both of these student loan programs, known as the "PEAKS" and "CUSO" programs, to provide off-balance sheet loans for ITT’s students following the collapse of the private student loan market. To induce others to finance these risky loans, ITT provided a guarantee that limited any risk of loss from the student loan pools. According to the SEC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, the underlying loan pools had performed so abysmally by 2012 that ITT’s guarantee obligations were triggered and began to balloon. Rather than disclosing to its investors that it projected paying hundreds of millions of dollars on its guarantees, ITT and its management took a variety of actions to create the appearance that ITT’s exposure to these programs was much more limited.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 12:35
gollum123 notes new U.S. demographic data from the Pew Research Center which show that the percentage of Americans declaring affiliation with a particular religion has declined sharply since 2007. Americans identifying as Christian dropped from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Those describing themselves as atheist, agnostic, or simple having no affiliation took up most of the slack, rising from 16.1% to 22.8%. Members of non-Christian faiths collectively rose from 4.7% to 5.9%. Despite the overall decline, the demographics within the Christian group are getting much more racially and ethnically diverse. The willingness of respondents to marry outside their religious affiliation is also on the rise. The median age of unaffiliated adults is dropping, while the median ages of mainline Protestants and Catholics are rising. The study estimates that 85% of adults age 70 and over are Christian, while only 56% of adults ages 18-24 are Christian. They also say that each individual generation has shown a slight decrease in religious affiliation compared to their statistics in 2007.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Domenica 24 Giugno è nato Emanuele, figlio del nostro Socio Denis e di Cristina!

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