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snydeq writes "Stings, penetration pwns, spy games — it's all in a day's work along the thin gray line of IT security, writes Roger A. Grimes, introducing his five true tales of (mostly) white hat hacking. 'Three guys sitting in a room, hacking away, watching porn, and getting paid to do it — life was good,' Grimes writes of a gig probing for vulnerabilities in a set-top box for a large cable company hoping to prevent hackers from posting porn to the Disney Channel feed. Spamming porn spammers, Web beacon stings with the FBI, luring a spy to a honeypot — 'I can't say I'm proud of all the things I did, but the stories speak for themselves.'"

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punk2176 writes "Hacker and security researcher Alejandro Caceres (developer of the PunkSPIDER project) and 3D UI developer Teal Rogers unveiled a new free and open source tool at DEF CON 21 that could change the way that users view the web and its vulnerabilities. The project is a visualization system that combines the principles of offensive security, 3D data visualization, and 'big data' to allow users to understand the complex interconnections between websites. Using a highly distributed HBase back-end and a Hadoop-based vulnerability scanner and web crawler the project is meant to improve the average user's understanding of the unseen and potentially vulnerable underbelly of web applications that they own or use. The makers are calling this new method of visualization web 3.0. A free demo can be found here, where users can play with and navigate an early version of the tool via a web interface. More details can be found here and interested users can opt-in to the mailing list and eventually the closed beta here."

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A new poker machine has such smart artificial intelligence that players are hooked even though the house always wins. About 200 machines across the country, called "Texas Hold ‘Em Heads Up Poker," use knowledge gained from billions of staged rounds of poker fed through neural networks, and the result is an unpredictable poker player that can win almost every time. Three different banks of knowledge are used depending on the gameplay scenario, but the basic idea behind its play technique is "to prevent itself from being exploited." "The theory behind it is almost paranoid," as engineer Fredrik Dahl explains. Before the machines hit the casinos, the makers spent two years trying to dumb the AI down so players wouldn't walk away from the machines. Even with the adjustment, it's estimated that only 100 players around the world even have a chance of taking the game down. Michael Kaplan has profiled the machines for The New York Times — be sure to read the full article for all the details.

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An anonymous reader writes "Ralph Langner, the security expert who deciphered how Stuxnet targeted the Siemens PLCs in Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, has come up with a cybersecurity framework for industrial control systems (ICS) that he says is a better fit than the U.S. government's Cyber Security Framework. Langner's Robust ICS Planning and Evaluation, or RIPE, framework takes a different approach to locking down ICS/SCADA plants than the NIST-led one, focusing on security capabilities rather than risk. He hopes it will help influence the final version of the U.S. government's framework."

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schliz writes "A one percentage point increase in an inflation forecast brings about a 75% rise in laughter, according to an American University PhD student, who studied transcripts of the Federal Open Market Committee at the Federal Reserve. Laughter usually comes in response to witticisms during a meeting at the time of the inflation forecast, and has been shown to be a mechanism for coping with the stress of a perceived threat."

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"Don Marti, says Wikipedia, "is a writer and advocate for free and open source software, writing for LinuxWorld and Linux Today." This is an obsolete description. Don has moved on and broadened his scope. He still thinks, he still writes, and what he writes is still worth reading even if it's not necessarily about Linux or Free Software. For instance, he wrote a piece titled Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful, and has written lots more at zgp.org that might interest you. But even just sticking to the ad biz, Don has had enough to say recently that we ended up breaking this video conversation into two parts, with one running today and the other one running tomorrow.

There will be a single transcript for both videos; it's scheduled run with the second one.

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An anonymous reader writes "Investment firm Knight Capital made headlines in 2012 for losing over $400 million on the New York Stock Exchange because of problems with their algorithmic trading software. Now, the owner of a Python programming blog noticed the release of a detailed SEC report into exactly what went wrong (PDF). It shows how a botched update rollout combined with useless or nonexistent process guidelines cost the company over $172,000 a second for over 45 minutes. From the report: 'When Knight used the Power Peg code previously, as child orders were executed, a cumulative quantity function counted the number of shares of the parent order that had been executed. This feature instructed the code to stop routing child orders after the parent order had been filled completely. In 2003, Knight ceased using the Power Peg functionality. In 2005, Knight moved the tracking of cumulative shares function in the Power Peg code to an earlier point in the SMARS code sequence. Knight did not retest the Power Peg code after moving the cumulative quantity function to determine whether Power Peg would still function correctly if called. ... During the deployment of the new code, however, one of Knight's technicians did not copy the new code to one of the eight SMARS computer servers. Knight did not have a second technician review this deployment and no one at Knight realized that the Power Peg code had not been removed from the eighth server, nor the new RLP code added. Knight had no written procedures that required such a review.'"

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Longtime Boing Boing friend Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds turned me on to Jonathan Wilson a couple years ago, and I became an instant fan. He slipped me a copy of Wilson's new album, "Fanfare," before its release date--I am obsessed with it.

I agree with Metzger: best rock and roll album of the year. "No competition, nothing else even comes close," he rightly writes. Everyone else, put down your guitars and mothball your drums, it's over.

Metzger can write about music better than anyone I know, so I'm just going to share a little of his Dangerous Minds review here:

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Original author: 
(author unknown)

Time once more for a look at the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless species that share our planet. Today's photos include Iranian dog owners under pressure, a bloom of mayflies, Kim Jong-un visiting Breeding Station No. 621, animals fleeing recent fires and floods, and a dachshund receiving acupuncture therapy. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news. [38 photos]

James Hyslop, a Scientific Specialist at Christie's auction house holds a complete sub-fossilised elephant bird egg on March 27, 2013 in London, England. The massive egg, from the now-extinct elephant bird sold for $101,813 at Christie's "Travel, Science and Natural History" sale, on April 24, 2013 in London. Elephant birds were wiped out several hundred years ago. The egg, laid on the island of Madagascar, is believed to date back before the 17th century. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)     

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