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Court Finds In Favor of Libraries In Google Books Affair 39

First time accepted submitter cpt kangarooski writes "While it's not a final victory in the long-running Google Books matter, the related case by the Authors' Guild against the universities working with Google in the digitization project has produced a ruling that their book scanning is a fair use. You can read the opinion here. This bodes well for Google's case, although note that this wasn't directly about them."

New Zealand Turning Hobbits Into Actual Cash Screenshot-sm 89

Curseyoukhan writes "With its economy struggling, New Zealand hopes to cash in on 'The Hobbit' by turning it into actual cash. The nation is releasing special commemorative coins depicting characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved book. The coin release coincides with the premiere of the first installment in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the book. It is also part of a publicity campaign aimed to rebrand the country '100 percent Middle Earth.'"

WikiLeaks Tests Donation Pop-Ups For Leaked Material 67

WikiLeaks has for years relied on donated time and money to publish the scoops that it has; now, concealment writes "As of Wednesday night, the secret-spilling site now shows a 'paywall' to any visitor who clicks on one of its leaked documents, including the 13,374 emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor that it published earlier in the day along with the teaser that the messages regarded presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The pop-up message that blocks access to the site's content shows a video parodying Barack Obama's stump speeches and asking visitors to instead 'vote for WikiLeaks' by making a donation to the site or buying its promotional gear like tote bags and hoodies."

Canadian Spying Case Proves Floppy Drive Isn't Dead Yet 148

An anonymous reader writes "The details of a Canadian spying case are coming to light, including the method of copying the sensitive data from the 'secured' computer linking five countries and the Russian handlers: Copy Data into Notepad; Save File to Floppy Drive; USB Key; ???; Profit! For $3000/mo in prepaid credit cards and wire transfers."

Google Wades Further Into Hardware With "Nexus Call Center" 58

An anonymous reader writes with this bit from "One of the big complaints surrounding the Nexus 7 launch was the lack of customer support when dealing with the device. Google was not initially prepared to handle the volume of users that required support, which led to an increase in wait time for callers who needed solutions. However, we've recently received word from a source that now Google is using a third party company to staff a call center for the release of the next Nexus devices." Maybe Google needs to out itself as a "devices and services company," too.

Facebook Confirms Data Breach 155

another random user writes "A researcher by the name of Suriya Prakash has claimed that the majority of phone numbers on Facebook are not safe. It's not clear where he got his numbers from (he says 98 percent, while another time he says 500 million out of Facebook's 600 million mobile users), but his demonstration certainly showed he could collect countless phone numbers and their corresponding Facebook names with very little effort. Facebook has confirmed that it limited Prakash's activity but it's unclear how long it took to do so. Prakash disagrees with when Facebook says his activity was curtailed." Update: 10/11 17:47 GMT by T : Fred Wolens of Facebook says this isn't an exploit at all, writing "The ability to search for a person by phone number is intentional behavior and not a bug in Facebook. By default, your privacy settings allow everyone to find you with search and friend finder using the contact info you have provided, such as your email address and phone number. You can modify these settings at any time from the Privacy Settings page. Facebook has developed an extensive system for preventing the malicious usage of our search functionality and the scenario described by the researcher was indeed rate-limited and eventually blocked." Update: 10/11 20:25 GMT by T : Suriya Prakash writes with one more note: "Yes, it is a feature of FB and not a bug.but FB never managed to block me; the vul was in Read my original post. Many other security researchers also confirmed the existence of this bug; FB did not fix it until all the media coverage." Some of the issue is no doubt semantic; if you have a Facebook account that shows your number, though, you can decide how much you care about the degree to which the data is visible or findable.

Firefox 16 Pulled To Address Security Vulnerability 165

Shortly after the release of the newest major version of Firefox, an anonymous reader writes with word that "Mozilla has removed Firefox 16 from its installer page due to security vulnerabilities that, if exploited, could allow 'a malicious site to potentially determine which websites users have visited' ... one temporary work-around, until a fix is released, is to downgrade to 15.0.1"

Where Has All the Xenon Gone? 225

LucidBeast writes "Xenon, the second heaviest of the noble gasses, is only found in trace amounts in the atmosphere. Atmosphere contains less xenon than other lighter noble gasses. Missing xenon has perplexed scientists and it has been speculated that it is hiding in the Earth's mantle. Now, a group at the University of Bayreuth in Germany thinks it might have found the answer. It turns out that xenon does not dissolve easily into magnesium silicate perovskite, and thus it cannot hide there. Because it had no place to hide, it is now gone forever."
The Internet

Intelligence Agencies Turn To Crowdsourcing 41

An anonymous reader writes "IARPA — the sister agency to DARPA — is sponsoring researchers to examine crowdsourcing as a method to derive better intelligence predictions. This research will eventually be transitioned to the intelligence community to improve national intelligence estimates. From the article: 'Like Darpa, its better-known counterpart in the Pentagon, Iarpa funds far-out research ideas. However, Iarpa works on ideas that could eventually be used by the likes of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), rather than the military. “The goal that Iarpa has is to eventually transition this to the intelligence community, and use it for something like the National Intelligence Estimates,” says Jenn Carter, who works on the project.'"

520-Million-Year-Old Arthropod May Have Had the First Modern Brain 60

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists say that the recently discovered 520 million year old insect brain, the oldest brain ever discovered in an arthropod, is surprisingly complex for its age, and may be the earliest example on record of a modern brain structure. Hailed as a 'transformative discovery,' researchers said that the 3-inch-long fossilized extinct arthropod found in Yunnan Province, China, shows that insects evolved to have complex brains significantly earlier than previously thought. Researchers said that the fossilized brain, which looks very similar to brains of modern insects, may provide a missing link that offers new insight on the evolutionary history of arthropods, a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans."

Australian Government Censors Draft Snooping Laws 150

coolstoryhansel writes "Stating that release of the draft legislation is not in the public interest [PDF] because it would prejudice decision making processes already in train, the Attorney General's Department has denied the release of the draft laws that would see wide-scale dragnet surveillance implemented along with an expansion of law enforcement powers for the purposes of 'national security'. Serkowski, speaking for the Pirate Party who lodged the FOI request labelled the Department response as 'disgraceful and troubling' saying the decision is 'completely trashing any semblance or notion of transparency or participative democratic process of policy development.'"

Pressure Rises On German Science Minister In Plagiarism Scandal 130

An anonymous reader writes "Germany's minister for science and education, who is currently under investigation by her alma mater for plagiarizing parts of her Ph.D thesis, is facing new accusations: a total of 92 alleged incidents of plagiarism (German) have been documented by a blogger, who calls 'this number of violations inexcusable.'"

US Looks For Input On "The Next Big Things" 309

coondoggie writes "What are the next big things in science and technology? Teleportation? Unlimited clean Energy? The scientists and researchers at DARPA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy put out a public call this week for ideas that could form what they call the Grand Challenges — ambitious yet achievable goals that that would herald serious breakthroughs in science and technology."

Kurzweil: The Cloud Will Expand Human Brain Capacity 267

Nerval's Lobster writes "Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil predicts the cloud will eventually do more than store our emails or feed us streaming movies on demand: it's going to help expand our brain capacity beyond its current limits. In a question-and-answer session following a speech to the DEMO technology conference in Santa Clara, California last week, Kurzweil described the human brain as impressive but limited in its capacity to hold information. 'By the time we're even 20, we've filled it up,' he said, adding that the only way to add information after that point is to 'repurpose our neocortex to learn something new.' (Computerworld has posted up the full video of the talk.) The solution to overcoming the brain's limitations, he added, involves 'basically expanding our brains into the cloud.'"

Stress-Testing Software For Deep Space 87

kenekaplan writes "NASA has used VxWorks for several deep space missions, including Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. When the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) needs to run stress tests or simulations for upgrades and fixes to the OS, Wind River's Mike Deliman gets the call. In a recent interview, Deliman, a senior member of the technical staff at Wind River, which is owned by Intel, gave a peek at the legacy technology under Curiosity's hood and recalled the emergency call he got when an earlier Mars mission hit a software snag after liftoff."