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How Close Are We To Engineering the Climate?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-getting-hot-in-here department:
merbs writes The scientists had whipped themselves into a frenzy. Gathered in a stuffy conference room in the bowels of a hotel in Berlin, scores of respected climate researchers were arguing about a one-page document that had tentatively been christened the "Berlin Declaration." It proposed ground rules for conducting experiments to explore how we might artificially cool the Earth—planet hacking, basically. This is the story of scientists' first major international meeting to tackle geoengineering. It’s most commonly called geoengineering. Think Bond-villain-caliber schemes but with better intentions. It’s a highly controversial field that studies ideas like launching high-flying jets to dust the skies with sulfur in order to block out a small fraction of the solar rays entering the atmosphere, or sending a fleet of drones across the ocean to spray seawater into clouds to make them brighter and thus reflect more sunlight. Those are two of the most discussed proposals for using technology to chill the planet and combat climate change, and each would ostensibly cost a few billion dollars a year—peanuts in the scheme of the global economy. We’re about to see the dawn of the first real-world experiments designed to test ideas like these, but first, the scientists wanted to agree on a code of ethics—how to move forward without alarming the public or breaking any laws.

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NASA Update Will Deal With Opportunity Flash Memory "Amnesia"
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's patch-it-up department:
BarbaraHudson writes Computerworld has some details on NASA's latest fix to allow the Opportunity Mars Rover to store data while in overnight "sleep mode." Opportunity has been suffering from a glitch that's causing what NASA scientists describe as memory and data loss — or robotic "amnesia" — caused by flash memory deterioration since early December. Currently any information gathered is stored temporarily in RAM and must be sent to Earth so it's not lost when Opportunity powers down.

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EFF: Apple's Dev Agreement Means No EFF Mobile App For iOS
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-for-you department:
schwit1 writes The EFF launched a new app that will make it easier for people to take action on digital rights issues using their phone. The app allows folks to connect to their action center quickly and easily, using a variety of mobile devices. Sadly, though, they had to leave out Apple devices and the folks who use them. Why? Because they could not agree to the terms in Apple's Developer Agreement and Apple's DRM requirements.

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Cluetrain Authors Offer an Updated Guide To the Web
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-a-clue department:
Esther Schindler points out that new "Clues" have been added to the Cluetrain Manifesto. "If you’ve ever said, 'markets are conversations' you’re quoting the words of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the ’90s-era opus on the promise of the Web. David Weinberger and Doc Searls (two of the original authors of Cluetrain) are publishing another provocative work today called New Clues. Weinberger says: 'The Cluetrain Manifesto was an attempt to explain to businesses and the media what they were getting wrong about the Web. In the broadcast era, a mass audience was fed what the media owners thought they wanted. It was one-way communication. The Web lets us communicate directly with one another about what matters to us. The Web’s been a social world since it began. A pall has descended even among those of us who have believed in the Net as an opportunity for transformation. What seemed inevitable 15 years ago now is at risk. So Doc and I thought it was time for a re-assessment. For many people, the Net now feels like just another way commercial media feed us content and toys. We can treat it like that. Or we can remember the Net’s original and true essence: it is a set of connections open to anyone. We have built wonders with it. Those days are far from over. But we have to take back the idea and meaning of the Net. We have to make sure that it stays open to everyone, every idea, and every connection.'"

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Four Facepalm Bugs In USPS Label-Printing Site
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's will-immediately-sell-my-stock-in-usps department:
"The United States Postal Service "Click-N-Ship" site suffered no outages or slowdowns during Christmas rush," writes Bennett Haselton. "It just has bugs that make the process more annoying than just standing in line
at the post office, which defeats the purpose. The most frustrating part is that most
of these bugs could have been fixed, just by having some testers run through the
ordering process and make a note of anything that seems confusing or wrong. (Although I've included notes on how to work around all the bugs, so you really can print your own labels and skip the line.)" Read on for the rest; what other gripes do you have about the current package delivery regime, and how would you resolve them?

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Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-afraid department:
New submitter wmofr writes: Major U.S. and British publications refused to publish related satirical cartoons, at least those about the "prophet", after the terrorist attack in Charlie Hebdo's office, which had 12 people killed. An editor of the Independent said:"But the fact is as an editor you have got to balance principle with pragmatism, and I felt yesterday evening a few different conflicting principles: I felt a duty to readers; a duty to the dead; I felt a duty to journalism – and I also felt a duty to my staff. I think it would have been too much of a risk to unilaterally decide in Britain to be the only newspaper that went ahead and published so in a sense it is true one has self-censored in a way I feel very uncomfortable with. It's an incredibly difficult decision to make." But still many media organizations bravely publishing those cartoons, declining self-censorship.
< article continued at Slashdot >

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Ask Slashdot: High-Performance Laptop That Doesn't Overheat?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's chestnut-roasters department:
AqD writes: Last year we started to replace business/multimedia-grade laptops with gaming laptops at work, after several years of frustration with overheating and throttling issues that plagued our laptops from Acer, ASUS, Dell, Lenovo, and basically every brand you can find on market, making it impossible to write code and run db/test environment all on the same laptop.

The first new batch comes from Clevo because their gaming laptops don't look like gaming laptops, and they offer 3-6 disk slots which we badly need. The result is acceptable, however, not quite as good as I had expected. Mine has i7-4700mq CPU which is more or less equivalent to an older i7 on the desktop, but its temperature is raised to 70-80C while turbo boost is on, even with the best thermal paste. My friend's i7-4801mq is worse — it could never stay at the advertised 3.6GHz for more than a few seconds before it burns up over 90 and starts to throttle. Its benchmark result is nearly identical to the 4700mq because of heat problems. And it's only 3.6GHz! The best i7 CPU on a desktop could easily run closer to 5GHz with 6 cores / 12 threads running!

So what should we choose next time? We're not looking for something cool or slim or light. We need real laptops which can at least run prime calculation at advertised turbo boost speed, full cores/threads for an entire day. A nice bonus would be manual fan control plus easy access to the fan for cleaning.


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UK Government Department Still Runs VME Operating System Installed In 1974
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's change-is-scary department:
Qedward writes: The UK government's Department for Work and Pensions is on the hunt for a new £135,000-a-year CTO, with part of their annual budget of £1 billion and responsibility for DWP's "digital transformation" to oversee the migration of the department's legacy systems which are still run on Fujitsu mainframes using the VME operating system installed in 1974.

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Samsung Unveils First PCIe 3.0 x4-Based M.2 SSD, Delivering Speeds of Over 2GB/s
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's upgrades-that-require-other-upgrades department:
Deathspawner writes: Samsung's SM951 is an unassuming gumstick SSD — it has no skulls or other bling — but it's what's underneath that counts: PCIe 3.0 x4 support. With that support, Samsung is able to boast speeds of 2,150MB/s read and 1,550MB/s write. But with such speeds comes an all-too-common caveat: you'll probably have to upgrade your computer to take true advantage of it. For comparison, Samsung says a Gen 2 PCIe x4 slot will limit the SM951 to just 1,600MB/s and 1,350MB/s (or 130K/100K IOPS), respectively. Perhaps now is a bad time to point out a typical Z97 motherboard only has a PCIe 2nd Gen x2 (yes, x2) connection to its M.2 slot, meaning one would need to halve those figures again.

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FCC Favors Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-neutral-on-neutrality department:
dkatana writes: Yesterday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said net neutrality is high on the agency's agenda, and a set of rules will be proposed beginning of next month. He also talked about reclassification of internet providers such as Google Fiber as Title II Telecom Companies. If Google and other fiber providers are given pole access, it could be the beginning of a race to deploy fiber-to-the-home to many cities and towns, where the cost of digging trenches has deterred many initiatives and protected the monopolies of the entrenched telecom providers. Advocates for net neutrality believe that Title II classification would allow the FCC to protect Internet services by regulating against paid prioritization.
A related article suggests one side effect of the internet becoming a public utility will be higher costs for internet access.

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Heinlein's 'All You Zombies' Now a Sci-Fi Movie Head Trip
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's let's-do-the-timewarp-again department:
HughPickens.com writes: Sara Stewart reports at the NY Post that the new sci-fi movie Predestination, opening January 9, is "loopier than Spielberg's [Minority Report]; its plot twists and turns 'like a snake eating its tail,' one character remarks, until you're not sure whether its developments are even plausible in a fictional universe." It's based on Robert A. Heinlein's science fiction classic All You Zombies, first published in 1959. The story involves a number of paradoxes caused by time travel, further developing themes explored by Heinlein in a previous work, By His Bootstraps, published some 18 years earlier. Predestination's plot concerns the intersection of a time-traveling assassin and an androgynous young writer

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Text Editor Created In Minecraft
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's already-has-dedicated-adherents department:
jones_supa writes: The redstone mechanics in Minecraft can be pushed surprisingly far to create rather advanced digital circuits. Thanks to a user nicknamed Koala_Steamed, there now exists a text editor inside the game (YouTube demonstration). It comes with a 5 x 10 character matrix in which each character uses a starburst (16-segment) display. There are 7.357 x 10^92 different combinations the screen can show, all of which can be controlled from a single line. The scale of the workings used to make this piece of logic, using only redstone, is dauntingly huge.

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FBI: North Korean Hackers "Got Sloppy", Leaked IP Addresses
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's who's-to-blame department:
An anonymous reader writes "The FBI launched a PR counterattack against skeptics of the assertion by the US government that North Korean hackers were responsible for anonymous threats received by Sony before its scheduled premiere of the film The Interview. Sony initially cancelled the Christmas day release, but later relented after receiving extensive criticism. In a speech at a New York City cybersecurity conference hosted by Fordham University, FBI Director James Comey said that while the attackers concealed their identify by using proxy servers, on occasion they "got sloppy" and made direct connections, exposing their true IP addresses; these indicated a North Korea origin. Comey also mentioned additional corroborative evidence, including patterns matching those seen in previous attacks known to have come from North Korea, but was guarded on details. Also at the Fordham conference, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper mentioned recently meeting the Kim Yong Chol, the North Korean general in charge of cyberwarfare. Clapper emphasized Kim's belligerence and lack of a sense of humor, implying that an advance screening of "The Interview" would likely have enraged and provoked the North Korean brass."

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Is Kitkat Killing Lollipop Uptake?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's if-it-aint-broke department:
BarbaraHudson writes Remember how Windows XP was "good enough" that people took forever to upgrade? The same might be happening with Kitkat vs Lollipop. "According to Google's latest Google Play Store results for early January 2015, less than 0.1 percent of all Android devices were using Lollipop. By comparison, the last major Android release 4.4, KitKat, reached 1.1 percent of its audience in its first month out. In January 2015, almost two months in for Lollipop, KitKat is still number one with 39.1 percent of the market. It's followed by the various Jelly Bean versions, 4.1.x with 19.2 percent; 4.2.x with 20.3 percent, and 4.3 with 6.5 percent. Trailing them is Ice Cream Sandwich, 4.03-04 with 7.8 percent, followed by antique Froyo, 2.2, with 0.4 percent."

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Over 30 Uber Cars Impounded In Cape Town
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-in-my-town department:
An anonymous reader writes Uber's in trouble again: 34 drivers in Cape Town, South Africa have had their cars impounded after being caught driving without a metered taxi permit. Uber says that the process of getting permits is subject to delays and drivers have been left in limbo due to a moratorium on new licenses last year. Cape Town says that it's been clear all along about what Uber drivers need to operate in the city and it's making no exceptions. Uber first arrived in Cape Town in 2013.

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White House Responds To Petition To Fire Aaron Swartz's Prosecutor
Posted by News Fetcher on January 07 '15 at 11:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-going-to-happen department:
First time accepted submitter devloop writes Petitioners requesting the White House remove D.A. Carmen Ortiz from office for gross prosecutorial overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz, received today what amounts to a denial from WhiteHouse.gov. "Aaron Swartz's death was a tragic, unthinkable loss for his family and friends. Our sympathy continues to go out to those who were closest to him, and to the many others whose lives he touched. We also reaffirm our belief that a spirit of openness is what makes the Internet such a powerful engine for economic growth, technological innovation, and new ideas. That's why members of the Administration continue to engage with advocates to ensure the Internet remains a free and open platform as technology continues to disrupt industries and connect our communities in ways we can't yet imagine. We will continue this engagement as we tackle new questions on key issues such as citizen participation in democracy, open access to information, privacy, intellectual property, free speech, and security. As to the specific personnel-related requests raised in your petitions, our response must be limited. Consistent with the terms we laid out when we began We the People, we will not address agency personnel matters in a petition response, because we do not believe this is the appropriate forum in which to do so."

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Study Casts Doubt On Mammoth-Killing Cosmic Impact
Posted by News Fetcher on January 07 '15 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's death-from-above-or-not department:
schwit1 writes Rock soil droplets formed by heating most likely came from Stone Age house fires and not from a disastrous cosmic impact 12,900 years ago, according to new research from the University of California, Davis. The study, of soil from Syria, is the latest to discredit the controversial theory that a cosmic impact triggered the Younger Dryas cold period."

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Porn Companies Are Going After GitHub
Posted by News Fetcher on January 07 '15 at 07:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-it-down department:
rossgneumann writes Porn production companies are currently engaged in a scorched earth copyright infringement campaign against torrenting sites with URLs containing specific keywords and Github is getting caught in the crossfire. Several Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints filed to Google by companies representing various porn companies in the last month alone have resulted in dozens of legitimate Github URLs being removed from the search engine's results, TorrentFreak first reported."

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What's Wrong With the Manhattan Project National Park
Posted by News Fetcher on January 07 '15 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's brotherhood-of-steel-approved department:
Lasrick writes Dawn Stover describes the radioactive dirt behind the creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, from its inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act (the park legislation wouldn't pass otherwise) and lack of funding for national parks in general to the lack of funding for cleanup at Superfund nuclear sites like Hanford. And then there is how the Parks Service is presenting exhibits: at least some of them are described in the past tense, as if nuclear weapons were a thing of the past. Here's the description of the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota: "Nuclear war loomed as an apocalyptic shadow that could possibly have brought human history to an end." Can the National Park Service be ignorant of the fact that missiles remain on station, nuclear weapons are still being stockpiled, and saber rattling did not end with the fall of the Berlin Wall?"

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Learn Gate-Array Programming In Python and Software-Defined Radio
Posted by News Fetcher on January 07 '15 at 05:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watch-and-learn department:
Bruce Perens writes Chris Testa KB2BMH taught a class on gate-array programming the SmartFusion chip, a Linux system and programmable gate-array on a single chip, using MyHDL, the Python Hardware Design Language to implement a software-defined radio transceiver. Watch all 4 sessions: 1, 2, 3, 4. And get the slides and code. Chris's Whitebox hardware design implementing an FCC-legal 50-1000 MHz software-defined transceiver in Open Hardware and Open Source, will be available in a few months. Here's an Overview of Whitebox and HT of the Future.
Slashdot readers funded this video and videos of the entire TAPR conference. Thanks!"


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