New submitter blando writes "Between February and March of 2011, at the height of Egypt's tumultuous revolution, protesters stormed the offices of their feared State Security Investigations Service in Alexandria and Sixth of October city, on the edge of Cairo. It was there, amongst evidence of detentions, torture and surveillance at SSIS's headquarters, that information first came to light regarding a sales pitch by UK-based Gamma Group to Egypt's security agency for their FinFisher spyware."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
dotarray writes with a bit from Player Attack: "Gaming is big business, says Valve, as the developer takes the time to show off its brand new gaming headset and TV-based Big Picture. Rather than inviting the games media masses who have been clamouring for any details on the Seattle company's 'wearable computing' initiative, Gabe Newell and his team instead went right to the top, with an in-depth interview published in The New York Times." The New York Times article on which this report is based is worth reading, too: Valve's corporate non-structure sounds hard to believe. It seems Valve is also looking for hardware designers.
way2trivial writes with this snippet from Information Week about a warning from Microsoft reminding Windows administrators that an update scheduled for October 9th will require a higher standard for digital certificates. "That warning comes as Microsoft prepares to release an automatic security update for Windows on Oct. 9, 2012, that will make longer key lengths mandatory for all digital certificates that touch Windows systems. ... Internet Explorer won't be able to access any website secured using an RSA digital certificate with a key length of less than 1,024 bits. ActiveX controls might be blocked, users might not be able to install applications, and Outlook 2010 won't be able to encrypt or digitally sign emails, or communicate with an Exchange server for SSL/TLS communications."
astroengine writes "Early Mars may not have been as warm or wet as scientists suspect, a finding which could impact the likelihood that the Red Planet was capable of evolving life at the time when it was getting started on Earth. A new study presents an alternative explanation for the prevalence of Mars' ancient clay minerals, which on Earth most often result from water chemically reacting with rock over long periods of time. The process is believed to be a starting point for life."
dgharmon writes with word from the BBC that "A U.S. hacker who sold access to thousands of hijacked home computers has been jailed for 30 months. Joshua Schichtel of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced for renting out more than 72,000 PCs that he had taken over using computer viruses." Time is cheap: Schichtel admitted to giving access to those 72,000 computers for $1500.
RocketAcademy writes "Among the emerging commercial space transportation companies, Blue Origin is the most secretive and mysterious. A VIP tour by NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver afforded a rare glimpse inside Blue Origin's headquarters, including a look at what appears to be a Blue Origin crew capsule."
First time accepted submitter Boldizar writes "My son turns seven next month and I'd like to buy him a cheap computer. I'm looking for the Slashdot hivemind opinion on what would be the best computer for a child. I'm looking for a computer that will teach him basic computer literacy, and hopefully one wherein the guts are a bit exposed so that he can learn how a computer works rather than just treating it like a magic object (i.e., iPad) – but that would still keep him interested and without leaving him behind in school. For the same reason, I prefer a real keyboard so he can learn to type. I don't know enough about computers to frame the question intelligently. Perhaps something in the $300 range that would be the computer equivalent of an old mechanical car engine? Another way to think about it: I'm looking for the computer equivalent of teaching my son how to survive in the forest should the zombie apocalypse ever come."
AdmiralXyz writes "Even the darkest corners of the internet aren't immune to the Web 2.0 boom: BoingBoing reports that 4chan is working on the largest codebase update in its history. The new 4chan will include as standard the functionality of popular browser plugins for using the site, as well as a JSON API so- hooray?- anyone can have immediate access to the contents of 4chan for any purpose they like. This represents a significant update to the heretofore haphazard development process of 4chan, and opens up the possibility of third-party 4chan apps... though probably not on the App Store."
redletterdave writes "In response to a recent outbreak of a deadly pulmonary disease commonly carried by mice and other rodents, Yosemite National Park has doubled the scope of those likely infected by hantavirus. Given the rising number of confirmed cases (currently eight) and deaths (three), U.S. officials have effectively sounded a worldwide alert for more than 22,000 local and international visitors that may have been exposed to the deadly virus. Health officials initially believed as many as 10,000 people were at risk to contracting the hantavirus after staying in Yosemite's popular Curry Village lodging area between the months of June and August.; unfortunately, that 10,000 'at risk' estimate was low. Officials expanded the warning this week to an additional 12,000 visitors to Yosemite's High Sierra camps, now that the eighth case of hantavirus was confirmed in a man who stayed in those camp areas. Furthermore, more than 2,500 of those individuals currently live outside the United States."
Presto Vivace writes with this outline of what voting can look like while remaining countable and anonymous — and how it does look north of the U.S. border. "In Canada, they use hand-marked paper ballots, hand counted in public. Among other things, that process means that we can actually be sure who won. And if the elections of 2000 and 2008 are any guide, and the race stays as close as the pollsters sat it is, we might, on Wednesday, November 7, not be sure who won." Any Canadians among our readers who want to comment on this?"
McGruber writes "In a blog entry, American business magnate Mark Cuban explained who he blames for his losing money in Facebook stock: 'I bought and sold FB shares as a TRADE, not an investment. I lost money. When the stock didn't bounce as I thought/hoped it would, I realized I was wrong and got out. It wasn't the fault of the FB CFO that I lost money. It was my fault. I know that no one sells me shares of stock because they expect the price of the stock to go up. So someone saw me coming and they sold me the stock. That is the way the stock market works. When you sit at the trading terminal you look for the sucker. When you don't see one, it's you. In this case it was me.'"
bazorg writes "Rick Falkvinge of the Swedish Pirate Party blogs on the subject of freedom of the press and foresees how users of Google glasses could be charged for possession and distribution of illegal porn. 'Child pornography is a toxic subject, but a very important one that cannot and should not be ignored. This is an attempt to bring the topic to a serious discussion, and explain why possession of child pornography need to be re-legalized in the next ten years.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Five decades after a humble start to its space program, the Indian Space Research Organization has successfully launched its 100th mission. From the news article: 'Making history in its space Odyssey, India on Sunday successfully launched its 100th mission with its workhorse PSLV-C21 placing in orbit two foreign satellites in a flawless flight from the spaceport here. The third wholly commercial launch with no Indian satellite was a textbook mission as Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) placed in orbit French spacecraft SPOT 6 and Japanese micro satellite PROITERES some 18 minutes after lift-off at 9:53 a.m..' ISRO has so far launched 62 satellites, one space recovery module, and 37 rockets."
Hugh Pickens writes "NPR reports that although organic fruits and vegetables, grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizer, comprise a $29 billion industry that is still growing, a new analysis of 200 peer-reviewed studies that examined differences between organic and conventional food finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods. 'When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food,' says Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior affiliate with Stanford's Center for Health Policy and co-author of the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 'I think we were definitely surprised.' Some previous studies have looked at specific organic foods and found that they contain higher levels of important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. For example, researchers found in one study that tomatoes raised in the organic plots contained significantly higher levels of certain antioxidant compounds. But this is one study of one vegetable in one field; when the Stanford researchers looked at their broad array of studies, which included lots of different crops in different situations, they found no such broad pattern. Here's the basic reason: When it comes to their nutritional quality, vegetables vary enormously, and that's true whether they are organic or conventional. One carrot in the grocery store, for instance, may have two or three times more beta carotene than its neighbor. But that's due to all kinds of things: differences in the genetic makeup of different varieties, the ripeness of the produce when it was picked, even the weather. Variables like ripeness have a greater influence on nutrient content, so a lush peach grown with the use of pesticides could easily contain more vitamins than an unripe organic one."
king.purpuriu writes "I'm a computer science high school student, and I'm looking for some work in IT freelancing. I have had a interest in computers and programming for a while, and I began learning on my own before high school. I would like to gain some experience (e.g. what the bulk of the jobs in various markets require, various technologies/frameworks and their usage) and possibly make some money on the side (not expecting too much; at this point, any non-negative amount will do). Key areas are web development, app programming and scripting. What solutions do you recommend? Any tips or tricks of which I should be aware? How should I deal with payment (in terms of fees and commissions; I'm from European country), and what type of work should I seek out? I would also be willing to do some small stuff for free in order to gain experience (small, static sites, small scripts, etc.)."