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New England Burns Jet Fuel To Keep Lights On
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's molasses-burns-well-too department:
First time accepted submitter inqrorken writes "During the recent cold snap, New England utilities turned to an unconventional fuel: jet fuel. Due to high demand for heating, natural gas supplies dropped and prices skyrocketed to $140/mmBtu and prompting the midatlantic RTO to call on demand response in the region. With 50% of installed generation capacity natural-gas fired, one utility took the step of running its jet fuel-based turbines for a record 15 hours."

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RNC Calls For Halt To Unconstitutional Surveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's pretty-words-all-in-a-row department:
Bob9113 writes "According to an article on Ars Technica, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has passed a resolution that "encourages Republican lawmakers to immediately take action to halt current unconstitutional surveillance programs and provide a full public accounting of the NSA's data collection programs." The resolution, according to Time, was approved by an overwhelming majority voice vote at the Republican National Committee's Winter Meeting General Session, going on this week in Washington, DC."

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Schiller Says Apple Is the Last PC Maker From the Mac Era, Forgets About HP
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 11:47 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's I-feel-happy-I-feel-happy department:
An anonymous reader writes "Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, recently claimed that Apple is the only computer company left from the early days of the Mac. Unfortunately for him, HP still exists. "Every company that made computers when we started the Mac, they're all gone," Schiller told Macworld in an interview on Apple's Cupertino campus. 'We're the only one left.' I'm sorry Apple, but when exactly did HP declare bankruptcy? We contacted an HP spokesperson for a statement on Apple's ridiculous claim and were pointed to its timeline history page."

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How Google Broke Itself and Fixed Itself, Automatically
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's arise-phoenix-arise department:
lemur3 writes "On January 24th Google had some problems with a few of its services. Gmail users and people who used various other Google services were impacted just as the Google Reliability Team was to take part in an Ask Me Anything on Reddit. Everything seemed to be resolved and back up within an hour. The Official Google Blog had a short note about what happened from Ben Treynor, a VP of Engineering. According to the blog post it appears that the outage was caused by a bug that caused a system that creates configurations to send a bad one to various 'live services.' An internal monitoring system noticed the problem a short time later and caused a new configuration to be spread around the services. Ben had this to say of it on the Google Blog, 'Engineers were still debugging 12 minutes later when the same system, having automatically cleared the original error, generated a new correct configuration at 11:14 a.m. and began sending it; errors subsided rapidly starting at this time. By 11:30 a.m. the correct configuration was live everywhere and almost all users' service was restored.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Educating Kids About Older Technologies?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's welcome-to-your-new-privy department:
ProgramErgoSum writes "Horse carriages, vinyl records, telegraphy, black and white television are all great examples of technology that held tremendous sway decades ago and eventually faded away. Other systems such as railways and telephony are 'historical,' but have advanced into the current age, too. I think not being aware of the science behind such yesteryear technologies (or their histories) is not right. I feel it would be most beneficial to encourage kids to explore old technologies and perhaps even try simple simulations at home or school. So, what websites or videos or other sources of information would you reach out to that teaches the basics of say, telegraphy? Or, signalling in railways? Etc. etc." Do you (or do you plan to) educate your kids about any particular older technologies?

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K-12 CS Education Funding: Taxes, H-1B Fees, Donations?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's still-on-that-eh? department:
theodp writes "Back in 2010, Bill Gates Sr. made the case for I-1098, an initiative for a WA state income tax that Gates argued was needed to address K-12 funding inequity, which he claimed was forcing businesses "to import technically-trained employees, while our own people are shut out of highly paid careers." Opposed by the deep-pocketed, high-tech studded Defeat 1098, the initiative was defeated. Four years later, some of the same high-tech leaders who records show funded Defeat 1098 — including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ($425K), Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith ($10K), Code.org founder Hadi Partovi ($10K), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($100K), Microsoft Corporation ($75K) — have gotten behind groups like Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us and Code.org, which are singing a similar Chicken Little tune, telling lawmakers that U.S. students will continue to be shut out of highly paid computer science careers without additional K-12 funding, and the U.S. will lose its competitive edge unless tech is permitted to import even more technically-trained employees. In a departure from Gates' income-tax based solution, Microsoft and Code.org argue that the-problem-is-the-solution, proposing that tech visa fees be used to fund K-12 CS programs. To 'accept that computer science classes are only available to the privileged few,' writes Code.org, 'seems un-American'. So, as some of the nation's biggest K-12 school systems turn to Code.org for CS education programs, should they expect the funding to come from taxes, H-1B tech visa fees, or the-kindness-of-wealthy-strangers philanthropy?"

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Hackers Steal Law Enforcement Documents From Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's traffic-ticket-inquiry department:
wiredmikey writes "Microsoft on Friday said that attackers breached the email accounts of a "select number" of employees, and obtained access to documents associated with law enforcement inquiries. According to the company, a number of Microsoft employees were targeted with attacks aiming to compromise both email and social media accounts '..We have learned that there was unauthorized access to certain employee email accounts, and information contained in those accounts could be disclosed,' said Adrienne Hall, General Manager at Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group. 'It appears that documents associated with law enforcement inquiries were stolen,' Hall said. Targeted attacks like this are not uncommon, especially for an organization like Microsoft. What's interesting about this is that the incident was significant enough to disclose, indicating that a fair number of documents could have been exposed, or that the company fears some documents will make their way to the public if released by the attackers—which may be the case if this was a 'hacktivist' attack."

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Mexico's Stolen Radiation Truck: It Could Happen In the US
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's every-moral-panic-is-the-very-worst-one department:
Lasrick writes "Tom Bielefeld, a physicist specializing in nuclear security, writes a detailed article that has some surprising revelations about nuclear security in the U.S. (and elsewhere). Although some security measures have been tightened since 9/11, the US does not require transports of category-1 to be protected by armed guards, and individual states don't have to provide lists of 'safe havens' to the transport company (and they often don't). And at hospitals and other buildings that house radioactive materials and devices, 'security conditions remain hair-raising, even when these facilities have been checked by inspectors.'"

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'Opportunity' Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary Roving Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's looking-for-a-mate department:
An anonymous reader writes "Ten years ago today, six and half months after launch, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's six-wheeled, solar-powered Opportunity rover landed on the surface of Mars, tumbling into a previously unknown feature now referred to as the 'Eagle Crater'. Opportunity and its twin Rover Spirit, which had arrived three weeks earlier, proceeded to crawl over and through plains, craters, and sand dunes, collecting and analyzing soil and rock samples, and taking panoramic photos of their surroundings, blowing orders of magnitude past the original projected 90 day mission timeframe. Spirit's mission drew to a close after it became irretrievably bogged down in soft soil in 2009; scientists lost contact with the rover in early 2010. Meanwhile, Opportunity is still going strong, with scientists announcing new evidence this past week of an ancient mild watery environment conducive to microbial life. Several web sites have mined the NASA archives to assemble tributes commemorating 10 years of work from Opportunity: Time, space.com, Information Week/Techweb. There's also a bricks-and-mortar tribute; the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC has just opened an exhibit featuring photos sent by the two rovers."

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Superbowl Means Time For Spy Cams, Hazmat Squads and Bomb-Sniffing Dogs
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it-is-time-to-cheer-citizen department:
Toe, The writes "The New York Police Department has quietly installed about 200 temporary surveillance cameras in midtown Manhattan to help spot trouble along 'Super Bowl Boulevard,' a 13-block street fair on Broadway that's expected to draw large crowds during the windup to the game. The temporary cameras for the Super Bowl festivities will supplement a system of thousands of permanent cameras covering midtown and Wall Street that the NYPD monitors from a command center in lower Manhattan. The department has pioneered analytical software that allows it to program the cameras to detect suspicious activity, such as a bag or other objects left in one place for a long time. Hazmat and bomb squads will be on standby. Others officers will patrol with bomb-sniffing dogs. Still more will watch from rooftops and from police helicopters. At a recent security briefing at the stadium, police chiefs and other officials said success will be measured in part by how well authorities conceal all the concern over potential threats." Now it's a proven tradition: Superbowl crowds are a good place to test people-watching gear.

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Open Source AMD Driver Now Supports OpenGL 3.3 — and It's Getting Faster
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '14 at 01:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's is-it-good-enough-for-you department:
An anonymous reader writes "With the latest open source Linux code published today the AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D driver supports OpenGL 3.3 and GLSL 1.50; this is the open source Linux graphics driver used for Radeon HD 7000 series and newer, including the new Hawaii GPUs. The OpenGL 3.3 support appeared in patches spread across Mesa and LLVM that should appear in their next releases. It was also found that the RadeonSI driver is becoming a lot faster and starting to compete with Catalyst, AMD's notorious Linux binary driver."

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Google Raises the Ante at CanSecWest With $2.7M In Pwnium Prize Money
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 11:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's advertising's-where-the-money-is department:
Trailrunner7 writes with this excerpt: "Building on the success of the last couple of years, Google plans to offer more than $2.7 million in potential rewards in the next iteration of its Pwnium hacking competition at this year's CanSecWest conference in Vancouver. The company has run the contest in parallel with the older Pwn2Own competition at the conference, with somewhat different rules, and this year plans to allow researchers to go after Chrome OS running on both ARM- and Intel-based Chromebooks. Pwnium began as Google's answer to Pwn2Own, the well-known hacking contest that has attracted some of the top researchers in the industry over the course of the last few years, including Dino Dai Zovi, Charlie Miller, Chaouki Bekrar and the Vupen team and many others. ... But the money that Google is putting up for new compromises of Chrome OS is far beyond what's available at Pwn2Own or any of the other major contests and has attracted a small, but elite, group of contestants in past years. The company is promising rewards of as much as $150,000 plus some bonuses, paid at Google's discretion, for especially innovative or serious exploits."

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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 09:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's suggestions-welcome department:
First time accepted submitter hughbar writes "I live in a London suburb that has many activities and classes, yoga, IT [of course], running, art, assorted volunteering and many others. With the help of the local council, we'd now like to make a centralised, searchable database of these, with a number of helpful features: Easy to make submissions, otherwise the whole thing will always be out of date; Web accessible [obviously] but mobile phone friendly as well; Maybe, publish and subscribe, so people can 'subscribe' to yoga listings for example; Handles repeating events, like a classical web calendar; Maybe, can be consolidated with nearby events calendars. I'm aware of MRBS and WebCalendar, but I'm wondering whether there are other suggestions, especially as this is a useful social application. And, yes, I'd like it done with open source, then we can tailor it."

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High School Students Develop Linux Imaging and Help Desk Software
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-did-they-learn-anything department:
An anonymous reader writes "A Pennsylvania school district is going Linux and building an open source high school with the help of student technology apprentices. As part of a 1:1 laptop learning program, 1725 high school students at Penn Manor School District are receiving new laptops running Ubuntu and open source software exclusively. Central to the program is a student help desk where student programmers created a Linux multicast imaging system titled Fast Linux Deployment Toolkit. The district posted pictures of the imaging process in action. Working alongside school IT staff, students also developed help desk software and other programs in support of the 1:1 student laptop program. The student tech apprentices also provide peer support for fellow students."

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Tesla Wins One Over Chinese Trademark Troll
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 05:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's where's-my-good-enough-tesla-clone? department:
cartechboy writes "The Tesla Model S went on sale in China this week, at a price of $121,000--which is the same $79,900 price as in the U.S. plus a whole bunch of other costs tacked on, mostly the customs duty China uses to protect its own auto industry and a stiff value-added tax. But that's not the big news. Lost in the announcement was the news that Tesla got its brand name back from a Chinese trademark troll who'd registered it in 2006, even before the very first electric Roadster was sold in the States. So now the company's stores can carry the name "Te Si La," which is the Chinese transliteration most familiar to consumers in that country. Score one more for Tesla Motors."

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Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's white-whites-more-vibrant-colors department:
Velcroman1 writes "I've seen the future. It's called gigabit Internet by Google Fiber, and it just launched in my hometown of Provo, Utah, the second of three scheduled cities to get speeds that are 100 times faster than the rest of America. 'What good is really fast Internet if the content stays the same?' you may ask yourself. I certainly did, before testing the service. Besides, my "high speed" Internet from Comcast seemed fast enough, enabling my household to stream HD videos, load web pages quickly, and connect multiple devices as needed, largely without hiccup. I was wrong. Using gigabit Internet, even in its infancy, opened my eyes to speed and reminded me of why I love the Internet."

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Russia Plans To Extend Edward Snowden's Asylum
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stay-awhile-and-we'll-listen department:
mendax writes "The New York Times reports, 'Russia plans to extend its offer of asylum to Edward J. Snowden beyond August, a Russian lawmaker said Friday at the World Economic Forum ... The lawmaker, Aleksei K. Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's lower house of Parliament, hinted during a panel discussion that the extension of temporary refugee status for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, might be indefinite. "He will not be sent out of Russia," Mr. Pushkov said. "It will be up to Snowden."'"
Snowden said yesterday that going back to the U.S. is not an option because of the country's poor whistleblower protections "which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like [him]." He added, "This is especially frustrating, because it means there’s no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury."

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Collaboration and Rivalry In WebKit
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enemy-of-slower-load-times-is-my-friend department:
An anonymous reader writes "An unconventional article on the development of the WebKit project was just posted to the arXiv. Those guys data-mined the WebKit source-code change-log with Social Network Analysis. They claim that even if Apple and Samsung fight each other with patent wars in the courts, they still collaborate in the WebKit community. The report provides a different perspective from the Bitergia WebKit analytics. Some interesting polemics regarding Apple, Google and Nokia participation in the WebKit project are also highlighted in the paper. There are some nice figures capturing collaboration and rivalry in the WebKit community."

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Collaboration and Rivarly In WebKit
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enemy-of-slower-load-times-is-my-friend department:
An anonymous reader writes "An unconventional article on the development of the WebKit project was just posted to the arXiv. Those guys data-mined the WebKit source-code change-log with Social Network Analysis. They claim that even if Apple and Samsung fight each other with patent wars in the courts, they still collaborate in the WebKit community. The report provides a different perspective from the Bitergia WebKit analytics. Some interesting polemics regarding Apple, Google and Nokia participation in the WebKit project are also highlighted in the paper. There are some nice figures capturing collaboration and rivalry in the WebKit community."

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Wayland 1.4 Released — Touch, Sub-Surface Protocol, Crop/Scale Support
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes "Version 1.4 of the Wayland protocol and Weston reference compositor have been released. The Wayland/Weston 1.4 release delivers on many features and includes promoting the sub-surface protocol to official Wayland, improved touch screen support, a crop/scale protocol within Weston, security improvements, and other fixes."

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