By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-only-we-could-drink-oil department
An anonymous reader writes: Droughts in the western U.S. have been bad recently, but not as bad as they could be. Researchers from NASA, Cornell, and Columbia are now warning that if we don't slow the rate at which we produce greenhouse gases, then we're dramatically increasing our odds of a drought that lasts upwards of three decades. "The scientists were interested in megadroughts that took place between 1100 and 1300 in North America. These medieval-period droughts, on a year-to-year basis, were no worse than droughts seen in the recent past. But they lasted, in some cases, 30 to 50 years. When these past megadroughts are compared side-by-side with computer model projections of the 21st century, both the moderate and business-as-usual emissions scenarios are drier, and the risk of droughts lasting 30 years or longer increases significantly."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's legislation-via-industry department
An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation went through a recent leak of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, an international treaty in development that (among other things) would impose new intellectual property laws on much of the developed world. The EFF highlights one section in particular, which focuses on the punishments for copyright infringement. The document doesn't set specific sentences, but it actively encourages high monetary penalties and jail terms. Its authors reason that these penalties will be a deterrent to future infringement. "The TPP's copyright provisions even require countries to enable judges to unilaterally order the seizure, destruction, or forfeiture of anything that can be 'traceable to infringing activity,' has been used in the 'creation of pirated copyright goods,' or is 'documentary evidence relevant to the alleged offense.' Under such obligations, law enforcement could become ever more empowered to seize laptops, servers, or even domain names."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's working-hard-to-be-lazy department
An anonymous reader writes: Writer Adam Estes has tested over a thousand dollars worth of smart home gear from companies like Wink, GE, Lutron, Cree, and Leviton. Most of it worked correctly out of the box — which he said was great. But almost immediately, devices stopped responding and defects manifested themselves. Even after getting replacements and reconfiguring the devices, he found himself wondering if it was worth the effort to wrestle with all these devices, and ended up appreciating the simplicity of a plain old light switch.
Estes says, "Installation woes and bugs aside, my smart home never seemed handy. I had to tape off the regular switches so that the power would stay on and the bulbs' smart features would work. Even then, I had to pull out a smartphone or a tablet any time I wanted to dim the lights. That was never convenient. I could turn the lights on from my office, but that didn't really make my life better. I could impress my friends with a stray smart home feature here and there, but more often than not, I found myself embarrassed by the glitches of my smart home gone dumb." He concludes that while many smart home products can and do work, the biggest lie their marketers tell us is that it'll be simple and easy to set up and operate all these gadgets.
Those of you who have wired up parts of your home, how has it worked out so far?Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-news-for-all-six-people-who-bought-lumias department
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has launched Windows 10 preview for phones. To get started, you'll need to download the Windows Insider app from the Windows Phone Store. Microsoft has already released multiple new Windows 10 preview builds, but those were limited to just PCs. The new preview for smartphones comes with a slew of new features. Until now, the Windows Insider app only worked for Microsoft employees. Now, users who are part of the Insider program can install the first Windows 10 preview build, as long as they have one of the six compatible devices. The Windows 10 preview works on the Lumia 630, Lumia 635, Lumia 636, Lumia 638, Lumia 730, and Lumia 830.Read Replies (0)