Stanford Vehicle 1st to Finish Robot Race

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Three robotic vehicles cruised past the finish line Saturday in a Pentagon-sponsored race across the rugged Mojave desert, giving scientists hope that robots could one day wage battles without endangering soldiers.

“The impossible has been achieved,” cried Stanford University’s Sebastian Thrun, after the university’s customized Volkswagen crossed first. Students cheered, hoisting Thrun atop their shoulders.

Also finishing was a converted red Hummer named “H1ghlander” and a Humvee named “Standstorm” from Carnegie Mellon University. The Stanford robot dubbed “Stanley” overtook the top-seeded H1ghlander at the 102-mile mark of the 132-mile course.

“I’m on top of the world,” said Carnegie Mellon robotics professor William “Red” Whittaker, who said a mechanical glitch allowed Stanley to pass H1ghlander.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, plans to award $2 million to the fastest vehicle to cover the race in less than 10 hours.

Source: AP

Net blackout sparks talk of new rules

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A feud between big network companies that has blacked out swaths of the Internet for thousands of people is prompting calls for government involvement, and may help trigger a rewrite of telecommunications laws affecting the Net.

On Wednesday, Internet backbone company Level 3 Communications cut off a direct link to a peer, Cogent Communications, as the result of a long-simmering contract dispute. The action left many customers on both sides unable to reach Web sites or send e-mail to people who used the other company’s network until the connection was restored late on Friday.

The unilateral action, which came without warning to most customers, has prompted consumer advocates to call for protections against the interruption of basic Internet traffic. At least one influential congressman says he will try to add safeguards against this type of situation into an ongoing, major rewrite of the nation’s telecommunications laws.

Source: News.com

IBM drops patent claims against SCO

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

IBM has dropped its three remaining claims of patent infringement in a lawsuit against the SCO Group, which originally sued Big Blue in March 2003 over claims it broke a Unix licensing contract by moving technology to Linux.

The move is a piece of good news for SCO, whose suit so far has been met with skepticism by the federal judge overseeing the case.

In a court filing Thursday, IBM said it dropped the claims to speed the case and try to curtail the number of depositions SCO seeks, and added the potential monetary rewards are slim.

Source: News.com

Dutch smash 100,000-strong zombie army

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Dutch police have arrested three people for building a worldwide zombie network of more than 100,000 PCs used to launch internet attacks on companies and to hack into bank and Paypal accounts.

The main suspect, a 19 year-old man, and his alleged accomplices, a 22 year-old and a 27 year-old, were collared in raids on their homes. Police seized “several computers, documents, a bank account, bare cash and a sports car”. More arrests are expected.

The compromised PCs were hacked using a trojan horse, called W 32.Toxbot, according to the police, who say that “some thousands” of the victims were based in the Netherlands.

The suspects are also thought to have hacked into a “large number of PayPal and eBay accounts, enabling them to order several goods over the internet, without actually paying for them”.

Source: The Register

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