Nerval's Lobster writes "When hurricane Sandy knocked out the electricity in lower Manhattan, data-center operator Peer1 took extreme measures to keep its servers humming, assembling a bucket brigade that carried diesel fuel up several flights of stairs. Ted Smith, senior vice president of operations for Peer1, talks about the decisions made as the floodwaters rose and the main generators went offline, as well as the changes his company has made in the aftermath of the storm. He said, 'When the water got to a point that it had flooded the infrastructure and the basement, we were then operating under the reserves the building had on the roof, and our own storage tanks. Literally, at that point we had to do calculations as to how long we could run. And we believed we had enough diesel fuel—between what is in the building, and in our tanks, to about 9 AM the following day. ... You know the bucket brigade—it’s something I’ve never asked the team to do. If you think about what that was at that time, you’re talking about carrying fuel up 17 flights, in total darkness, throughout a whole evening. We had informed our data center manager that we were shutting down, but he kind of took on it himself to say, ‘Not on my watch.’ And he organized himself, got a temporary solution and then more customers jumped in. And at peak I think we had about 30 people helping.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
theodp writes "If you've got Google CEO Larry Page's billions, you can reduce your chances of getting sick this winter by personally providing free flu shots to all San Francisco Bay Area kids at Target pharmacies. 'Vaccinating children,' explains the Shoo the Flu initiative's website, 'will not only improve children's health, it will also dramatically reduce the risk of the flu spreading to adults.' But Tim Olshansky doesn't have Page's money, so he'll have to settle for trying to get it through people's thick heads that they really have to stay home when they're sick. 'Why do people still come to the office when they're coughing up a lung?' asks the exasperated Olshansky. 'Because unfortunately, there is a still a strong perverse culture that equates staying at home when sick with weakness. This is a flawed belief and should be questioned. Given that we have the tools now to complete most tasks from home, there is no strong reason to compel people to come to the workplace.' So, does your employer encourage employees to stay home when they're sick? How?"
New submitter Macfox writes "In a move to focus on serving small business better, Google has axed the popular free edition of Google Apps for businesses. From Dec 6th, it will not be possible to sign up for the free edition. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Google's senior vice president in charge of Google Apps said Google wants to provide small businesses that use the free version of the software with dedicated customer support — something only paying customers currently get. 'We're not serving them well,' he said of the free users." Google's blog post notes that "this change has no impact on our existing customers, including those using the free version."
astroengine writes "It's 40 years to the day that the final mission to the moon launched. Discovery News speaks with Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist Harrison 'Jack' Schmitt about where he thinks the Earth's only satellite came from and why he thinks a NASA manned asteroid mission is a mistake. 'I think an asteroid is a diversion,' said Schmitt. 'If the ultimate goal is to get to Mars, you have a satellite only three days away that has a great deal of science as well as resources. The science of the moon has just been scratched. We've hardly explored the moon.'" The National Research Council came out with a report a few days ago which found that the inability for the U.S. to find a consensus on where to go is damaging its ability to get there. Bill Nye spoke about the issue, saying, "I believe, as a country, we want to move NASA from [being] an engineering organization to a science organization, and this is going to take years, decades. Now, through investment, we have companies emerging that are exploring space on their own and will ultimately lower the cost of access to low-Earth orbit, which will free up NASA to go to these new and exciting places."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Slashdot readers are no doubt familiar by now with the case of Onity, the company whose locks are found on 4 million hotel room doors worldwide and, as came to light over the summer, can be opened in seconds with a $50 Arduino device. Since that hacking technique was unveiled by Mozilla developer Cody Brocious at Black Hat, Onity first downplayed its security flaws and then tried to force its hotel customers to pay the cost of the necessary circuit board replacements to fix the bug. But now, after at least one series of burglaries exploiting the bug hit a series of hotel rooms in Texas, Onity has finally agreed to shoulder the cost of replacing the hardware itself — at least for its locks in major chain hotels in the U.S. installed after 2005. Score one point for full disclosure."
sciencehabit writes "Gliese 581 is a red dwarf star just 21 light-years from Earth that boasts a number of planets. Now astronomers are reporting another feature that earthlings would find familiar: a ring of dust far from the star which resembles the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt, a zone of objects, each much smaller than Earth, that lies beyond Neptune's orbit and includes Pluto. The newfound debris disk is about as large as the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt, even though Gliese 581 is small and all of its known planets lie closer to their sun than Earth does to ours. The scientists speculate that the little red star harbors a more remote planet whose gravity stirs up the belt's small objects, causing them to collide and spew the dust that Herschel has discerned."
MojoKid writes "The time we spend making calls on smartphones pales in comparison to the other activities we use it for, like surfing the web, logging into Facebook, streaming music and video, and of course playing games. It's that latter functionality that a startup called Green Throttle wants to tap into, and given the horsepower of today's smartphones, it makes a lot of sense. The company envisions harnessing the power of today's well-equipped Android smartphones and tablets in order to play console-like games on your HDTV. Right now the concept is limited to select devices — Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S II and S III, HTC One X, Kindle Fire HD, and Asus Transformer — though the company says it's adding to the list quickly. The system is fairly simple. You load Green Throttle's Arena app on your compatible device and start gaming using the company's Bluetooth-enabled Atlas controller, which looks a lot like an Xbox 360 controller, then push your phone's HDMI output to an HDTV."
First time accepted submitter deathcow writes "After forty years, a fresh perspective on old Pioneer data leads to new conclusions as to why the Pioneer probes are decelerating. Many theories to the slowing probes have persisted over the years — was it gravity? some type of unforeseen radiation? dark matter? Thanks to the data backup preservation efforts of a NASA Ames Research engineer, mountains of old telemetry data were still available for studying this curious anomaly."
Trailrunner7 writes "Malicious apps have emerged as perhaps the most serious threat to mobile devices at the moment, and the major players, such as Apple and Google, have tried several different methods of preventing them from getting into their app stores and into the hands of users. Now, Google is taking one more step with the launch of a new service called the Private Channel for Google Apps, which gives enterprises and other organizations the ability to create private app stores and control the apps their users can download. Private Channel is essentially a way for organizations to stand up their own miniature app stores inside of Google Play--the main app store for Android devices--and publish apps to it. That gives these organizations the ability to point their users directly to the apps they want users to download for their Android devices. The new service will include some of the security features built into Google Play, most notably the anti-malware system and the ability to authenticate users."
alexander_686 writes "The SEC is investigating Netflix CEO Reed Hastings over one of his Facebook postings. The agency is questioning his July 1 Facebook posting, seen by 200,000 followers, in which he said customers watched 'over 1 billion hours' of videos on Netflix in June. He had previously posted on his company blog that members were viewing 'nearly a billion hours per month.' From the article: '“We think the fact of 1 billion hours of viewing in June was not ‘material’ to investors, and we had blogged a few weeks before that we were serving nearly 1 billion hours per month,” Hastings said in the filing today. “We remain optimistic this can be cleared up quickly through the SEC’s review process.”'"
medcalf writes "NBC reports that Alan Stern's Golden Spike Company is planning commercial trips to the Moon. From the article: 'A group of space veterans and big-name backers today took the wraps off the Golden Spike Company, a commercial space venture that aims to send paying passengers to the moon and back at an estimated price of $1.4 billion or more for two. The venture would rely on private funding, and it's not clear when the first lunar flight would be launched — but the idea reportedly has clearance from NASA, which abandoned its own back-to-the-moon plan three and a half years ago. Golden Spike's announcement came on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 17, the last manned moonshot. Backers of the plan, including former NASA executive Alan Stern and former Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin, were to discuss the company's strategy at a National Press Club briefing at 2 p.m. ET, but some of the details were laid out in a news release issued before the briefing. "A key element that makes our business achievable and compelling is Golden Spike's team of nationally and internationally known experts in human and robotic spaceflight, planetary and lunar science, exploration, venture capital formation, and public outreach," Stern said in the news release.'"
First time accepted submitter VegetativeState writes "Jane Perez hired a construction company and was not happy with the work they did and alleged some of her jewelry was stolen. She submitted reviews on Yelp and Angie's List, giving the company all F's. The contractor is now suing her for $750,000. From the article: 'Dietz, the owner of Dietz Development, filed the Internet defamation lawsuit filed last month, stating that "plaintiffs have been harmed by these statements, including lost work opportunities, insult, mental suffering, being placed in fear, anxiety, and harm to their reputations." Perez's Yelp review accused the company of damaging her home, charging her for work that wasn't done and of losing jewelry. The lawsuit follows an earlier case against Perez, which was filed in July 2011 by Dietz for unpaid invoices. According to the recent filing, the two were high school classmates.'"
moon_unit2 writes "We're all familiar with ads that seem to follow you around as you go from one website to another. A startup called Drawbridge has developed technology that could let those ads follow you even when you pick up a smartphone or tablet. The company, founded by an ex-Google scientist, employs statistical methods to try to match and identify users on different devices. The idea is that this will preserve privacy while making mobile ads more lucrative, although some experts aren't convinced that the data will be truly anonymous."
ATKeiper writes "The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which was selected by the U.S. government in the 1980s to be the nation's permanent facility for storing nuclear waste, is essentially dead. A new article in The New Atlantis explains how the project was killed: 'In the end, the Obama administration succeeded, by a combination of legal authority and bureaucratic will, in blocking Congress's plan for the Yucca Mountain repository — certainly for the foreseeable future, and perhaps permanently.... The saga of Yucca Mountain's creation and apparent demise, and of the seeming inability of the courts to prevent the Obama administration from unilaterally nullifying the decades-old statutory framework for Yucca, illustrates how energy infrastructure is uniquely subject to the control of the executive branch, and so to the influence of presidential politics.' A report from the Government Accountability Office notes that the termination 'essentially restarts a time-consuming and costly process [that] has already cost nearly $15 billion through 2009.'"
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from ABC News: "Software millionaire John McAfee has been taken to a Guatemala City hospital via ambulance after suffering a possible heart attack at the detention center where he is being held. McAfee, 67 — who may soon be deported back to Belize, where authorities want to question him about the shooting death of his neighbor — was reportedly prostrate on the floor of his cell and unresponsive. He was wheeled into the hospital on a gurney, but when nurses began removing his suit, he became responsive and said, 'Please, not in front of the press.' Earlier today, McAfee had complained of chest pains."