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Submission + - Ken Burns Chronicles the Greatest Man-Made EcoDisaster in Human History

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The LA Times reports that as the East Coast licks its wounds from superstorm Sandy, beginning on Sunday on PBS, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in US history in "The Dust Bowl," a story that has modern-day relevance. The conditions for catastrophe, centered in the Oklahoma panhandle and neighboring parts of Texas, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado, were laid down in the conversion of a flat, windy, dry land, "almost wholly unfit for cultivation" in one early estimate, into a sea of wheat. A number of wet years, plus the encouragement of the federal government, land speculators and bogus science, made all seem well for a while. But then the rain stopped, and the soil, already weakened by mechanical farming techniques — often for absentee "suitcase farmers" with no emotional attachment to the land — turned to dirt. "We lived in a brown world." says Dorothy Kleffman, of Guymon, Oklahoma, one of two dozen Dust Bowl survivors Burns has interviewed. The film has special relevance to present-day arguments about our effect on the natural world and the place of government in regulating these interactions. "People who are ignorant and people who think only in terms of the moment scoff at our efforts and say: 'Oh, let the next generation take care of itself—if people out in the dry parts of the country cannot live there let them move out and hand the land back to the Indians.'" said President Roosevelt in a 1938 speech in Amarillo, Texas. That the scoffing goes on, led by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, makes this bit of history feel urgent."

Submission + - How can Wikipedia's upcoming Visual Editor be better than other word processors? (

azadnama writes: Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, is aware of the fact the MediaWiki formatting syntax is a major obstacle for people's participation in writing on the site. To address this problem, the Foundation is developing VisualEditor—a web-based WYSIWYG interface for editing articles. It's supposed to be similar to a word processor, like LibreOffice, Microsoft Word, Pages, Google Docs, and others. And this is the time to ask: What did your word processor get wrong and how can Wikipedia's VisualEditor get it right?

Submission + - GIF Becomes Word Of The Year 2012 ( 2

mikejuk writes: GIF started out as a humble acronym 25 years ago, entered common parlance as the format used for web graphics and now achieves fame as a verb by becoming Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012. GIF as a noun has always been an all-capital letter noun. Becoming a verb has caused problems concerning the use of capital and lower case letters. The common form is to keep the noun in caps and add the verbal endings in lower case — as in GIFed,GIFing), However, an all lower-case spelling with the f duplicated (giffed, giffing) is also being used.
Data Storage

Submission + - Hard Disk capacity set to increase up to five times (

Dupple writes: A technique that enables the nanopatterned layers that store data in hard disk drives to assemble themselves has been improved to better suit mass production, and could enable disks that store five times as much data as the largest available today.

Using self-assembly instead of machines that print or etch out features has long been considered a potential solution to a looming barrier to expanding the capacity of hard-disk designs. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have now worked out a solution to a problem that made self-assembly incompatible with existing factories.


Submission + - David Cameron 'orders new curbs on internet porn'

fustakrakich writes:

The new measures will mean that in future anyone buying a new computer or signing up with a new internet service provider (ISP) will be asked, when they log on for the first time, whether they have children. If the answer is "yes", the parent will be taken through the process of installing anti-pornography filters, as well as a series of questions on how stringent they wish the restrictions to be, according to a newspaper.

If the answer is "no", all male customers over 18 will be immediately tagged as pedophiles.


Submission + - Delicious kiwi fruit is at risk of becoming endangered from disease (

canada_dry writes: A disease that affects kiwi fruit has been spreading across New Zealand and Italy (the top producers of the hairy and nutritious fruit). This relatively new disease "psa-v" was first detected 20 years ago however it has become significantly more virulent in the last 5 years and is now appearing in almost every kiwi crop. Recent studies (May 2011 indicate there is concern about the future of the fruit. It seems that the current treatments of chemicals and antibiotics has been unsuccessful. Indications are that the disease originates from China ( More information is available on the kiwi growers website:

Submission + - Star Citizen takes the crowdfunding crown, reboots the Space Sim genre? (

Zocalo writes: Star Citizen, Chris Robert's attempt to reboot the Space Sim genre, hit a major funding milestone earlier today, exceeding the previous record of $4,163,208 secured by the game Project Eternity and more than doubling the initial funding target set by the producer of the Wing Commander series. With Stretch Goals now being passed every few hours bringing new features to the planned game, and David Brabham annoucing a new installment of the classic Elite using a similar funding model at Kickstarter could this be a wake up call for the big game publishers to take another look at the genre?

There's still two days left of Star Citizen funding as well, so if you feel like being a part you can chip in either at the main RSI site or on Kickstarter.

Submission + - Anonymous attacks Israeli websites in response to IDF operation in Gaza

An anonymous reader writes: "On Thursday, Anonymous reported that it took down close to 40 Israeli government and security establishment websites, although the single website that they presented as having been attacked belonged to a security and cleaning services company. The report came after Likud MK Danny Danon announced earlier in the week that his website had been taken down by a group calling itself TeaM KuWaiT HaCkErS. Danon's website had been hosting an online petition calling for the Israeli government to cut off the supply of electricity going from Israel to Gaza. "

Submission + - Greek vacation becomes a nightmare - Appeal denied facing upto 20 yr in jail (

jerryhopper writes: "Since September 9, two Czech gamedevelopers visited Greece on vacation. During that vacation they were arrested and charged with espionage. After being imprisoned for 70 days in inhumane conditions, their appeal was denied. Although the appeal denial was made at 25 October — the news reached the parents of the detainees only yesterday (16 nov). Due to Greek strikes in the judicial system, there isnt much progress in the case. Although the two detainees try to keep sane and survive with dignity, sleeping in a drafty cell with 25 inmates is' nt a easy task. They now no longer tell us that it’s alright, that they are holding it together. After this judicial decision we have heard from Martin and Ivan something
that no parent wants to hear. During the phone call they basically told us one thing: “Mom, dad, please save us.”"


Submission + - FreeBSD machines recently compromised (

An anonymous reader writes: Following recent compromises of the Linux and Sourceforge, the
FreeBSD Project is now reporting that several machines have been broken
into. After a brief outage, and other services appear to be
back. The project announcement states that some deprecated services
(e.g., cvsup) may be removed rather than restored. Users are advised to
check for packages downloaded between certain dates and replace them,
although not because known trojans have been found, but rather because the
project has not yet been able to confirm that they could not exist.

Apparently initial access was via a stolen SSH key, but fortunately their
clusters were partitioned so that the effects were limited. The announcement
contains more detailed information — and we are left wondering, would
proprietary companies that get broken into so forthcoming? Should they be?


Submission + - Hubble and Spitzer Telescopes Find Most Distant Galaxy Yet (

Penurious Penguin writes: At a distance of 13.3 billion light-years from Earth and approximately 600 light-years wide, the MACS0647-JD is the most remote galaxy yet discovered. Combined application of the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes were able with the help of a natural "gravitational lens" (cluster of galaxies), to find what what would have otherwise been extremely unlikely. has an article on the subject along with a video locating the galaxy in the general direction of Ursa Major and Polaris.

Submission + - Copyright reform and FOSS licenses

An anonymous reader writes: With all the constant talk of copyright reform, people often think of music, books, and videos. Free software licenses rely on their copyright to enforce their license. What happens if the copyright term is limited to 14 years, and anything GPLed will become public domain after 14 years? Windows NT could be public domain. Unix could finally be free. What affect will copyright reform have on FOSS software?

Submission + - Computer Science vs. Software Engineering 1

theodp writes: Microsoft's promotion of Julie Larson-Green to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering in the wake of Steven Sinofsky's resignation is reopening the question of what is the difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering. According to their bios on Microsoft's website, Sinofsky has a master's degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an undergraduate degree with honors from Cornell University, while Larson-Green has a master's degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Washington University. A comparison of the curricula at Sinofsky's and Larson-Green's alma maters shows there's a huge difference between UMass's MSCS program and Seattle U's MSE program. So, is one program inherently more compatible with Microsoft's new teamwork mantra?

Submission + - Valve's Big Picture Could Be A Linux Game Console ( 1

Penurious Penguin writes: Via LXer, a hopeful article at The Verge persuasively suggests that through Valve, Linux could soon become a formidable contender in the gaming arena, capable of holding its own against such giants as Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii. With 50 million users, a growing Linux team, a caboodle of interesting experiments ("Steam Box" hardware baselines, etc.) and a strong conviction that more-open platforms are the way, Valve may actually see it through.
Data Storage

Submission + - Data storage highway robbery

An anonymous reader writes: I just learnt that Salesforce charge $3000 per year for 1GB or extra data storage. That puts it in line with hardware storage costs from about 1993 (
We've all heard of telcos and ISPs charging ridiculous rates per MB when limits are reached — what's the most ridiculous rate that you've heard?

Submission + - Microsoft accuses webkit of breaking standards and becoming the next IE 6 (

Billly Gates writes: In a bizaare, yet funny and ironic move, Microsoft warned web developers that using webkit stagnated open standards and innovation on the web. Microsoft is espcially concerned in the mobile market where many mobile sites only work with Android or IOS with -webkit specific extensions on its call to action in their Windows Phone Developer Blog. Their examples include W3C code such as radius-border, which are being written as -webkit-radius-border instead on websites. In the mobile market Webkit has a 90% marketshare, while website masters feel it is not worth the development effort to test against browsers such as IE. Microsoft's solution to the problem of course is to use IE 10 for standard compliancy and not use the proprietary (yet opensource) webkit. Is webkit in both Android, Chrome, and iOS really that proprietary is it all hot air from someone who fell from grace?

Submission + - GOP Brief Attacks Current Copyright Law (

cervesaebraciator writes: Regardless of how one feels about the GOP generally, it is always heartening to see current copyright and IP law questioned on a national stage. A Republican study committee, chaired by Ohio Representative Jim Jordan released a brief today entitled Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it . Among other things, the brief attacks current copyright law as hampering scientific inquiry, penalizing journalism, and retarding the potential of the internet to allow the dispersion of knowledge through e-readers. In the briefs words, "Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets." Four potential policy solutions are proposed: statutory damage reform, expansion of fair use, punishing false copyright claims, and limiting copyright terms. There may yet be hope for a national debate on the current oppressive copyright system, if just a fool's hope.

Submission + - US Justice Department sues eBay for anti-competitive hiring practices (

McGruber writes: The Associated Press ( is reporting that the US Justice Department is suing eBay for allegedly agreeing with Intuit not to hire each other’s employees.

According to the article, "eBay’s agreement with Intuit hurt employees by lowering the salaries and benefits they might have received and deprived them of better job opportunities at the other company,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland, who is in charge of the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The division “has consistently taken the position that these kinds of agreements are per se (on their face) unlawful under antitrust laws.”

Submission + - Book Review: Version Control with Git, 2nd Edition (

kfogel writes: "I'd like to submit a book review of "Version Control with Git" (2nd Edition, 2012, O'Reilly Media), by Jon Loeliger and Matthew McCullough. The review is mostly written, but says to contact you (via this submissions form) for longer pieces like book reviews. So I am contacting you :-).

Please let me know if you'd consider running a review of this book. I'm happy to send the content of the review, of course; I'm just not sure what the best mechanism is, since it sounds like this form isn't it. Let me know.

-Karl Fogel ("

Submission + - 332 Months of Above Average Temperature in a Row (

NatasRevol writes: If you're less than 28 years old, you've never experienced a colder than average month for the earth. When does correlation become causation? From

If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average.