Downtime


December 12, 2007  10:02 AM

DWP bypasses courier to issue security guidelines

rfroley Profile: rfroley
dwp

It seems the government has turned a corner in its approach to data security.

It emerged last week that the Department for Work and Pensions sent local authorities an unencrypted e-mail detailing how to password-protect their data. The e-mail detailed the password that was to be used by every authority.

Although the information could have been easily accessed by even an incompetent hacker, and a uniform password is woefully insecure, it is heartening to see that the government is having a go at security.

December 12, 2007  10:00 AM

What I did on holiday: stole a car, smoked pot…

rfroley Profile: rfroley

A teenager in Norfolk has been banned from using the internet to publish “threatening or abusive” material.

The 17-year-old, who was tried at Norwich Youth Court, had posted his thoughts on his criminal behaviour, including smoking cannabis and stealing cars, on the Bebo website.

Claims that the youth was publishing his yobbish behaviour on the social networking site in the hopes of securing his own reality television show, are as yet unconfirmed.


December 12, 2007  9:59 AM

Russians see miracle of childbirth in a new light

rfroley Profile: rfroley
childbirth, Mobile phones

The future is orange, but not particularly bright, as a Russian mother at the point of delivering her baby girl discovered.

When a hospital in Shelehov in northern Russia was pitched into blackness by a power cut, nurses gathered mobile phones to use the light from the screens to assist the doctors in the delivery.

Although telecoms providers may find this a heart-warming story, others may wonder why a Russian hospital lacks, first, a back-up generator and, second, a torch.

Furthermore, if some studies are to be believed, the nurses would have done as well to use a stick of glowing uranium to assist in the birthing process.


December 12, 2007  9:54 AM

Microsoft’s Santa bot talks naughty, not nice

rfroley Profile: rfroley
Microsoft

Microsoft has revealed what it is that Santa Claus himself wants for Christmas. Those who thought the answer would be mince pies and brandy are in for a shock. An automated Santa Internet bot created by Microsoft for its MSN Messenger service has reportedly been chatting to users about oral sex. When asked if he would like some pizza, Santa said, “You want me to eat what? It’s fun to talk about oral sex,” later telling the MSN Messenger user, “I think you’re a dirty bastard.” Microsoft has apologised for any offence caused by Santa, and has withdrawn the bot. The Santa bot has since been invited to give a series of lectures at the Oxford Union Debating Society on the subject of internet etiquette.


December 12, 2007  9:44 AM

Chimps forget to pretend they have poor memories

rfroley Profile: rfroley
chimpanzees, chimps, Memory

Monkeys have finally slipped up. For years they have been deceiving scientists hoping to employ them as low-level data analysts and helpdesk assistants by throwing their own excrement at walls and generally doing a great impression of being stupid.

But a study at Kyoto University has found that young chimpanzees actually have a better numerical memory than human adults.

A group of 12 chimps was pitted against adults in a series of simple numerical memory tests, and were found to outperform their human counterparts for speed in every test, though they were no more accurate.

All 12 chimpanzees have gone on to achieve 10 A stars at GCSE. Scientists were at a loss to explain why they had performed so far below the average.


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