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Submission + - The Paris climate talks: Negotiating with the atmosphere->

Lasrick writes: The Paris climate change talks are in December, but what negotiators plan to propose will only be part of non-legally-binding pledges—and they represent only what is achievable without too much difficulty. Dawn Stover writes about alternatives to the meaningless numbers and endless talks: 'The very idea that the Paris conference is a negotiation is ridiculous. You can’t negotiate with the atmosphere.' Terrific stuff.
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Submission + - 24 Chinese Android Smartphones Models Come With Pre-Installed Malware 1

Submission + - Solar Windows Could Change The Way Buildings Are Powered->

Lucas123 writes: Several companies are now beginning to roll out translucent photovoltaic films or solar cells embedded in windows that can supplement a significant amount of energy in the buildings where they're used. SolarWindow Technolgies, for example, is preparing to launch a transparent product made with organic PVs, while another company, Solaria, is cutting solar cells into thin strips and embedding them in windows. Both companies admit their products can't produce the 20% efficiency ratings of today's best rooftop solar panels, but they say that's not their objective. Instead, the companies are looking to take advantage of millions of skyscraper windows that today are simply unused real estate for renewable energy. One company is aiming at supplementing 20% to 30% of a skyscrapers power requirements. Meanwhile, universities are also jumping into the solar window arena. Oxford University has spun off a PV window company that produces semi-transparent solar cells made of semi-transparent perovskite oxide that has achieved a 20% solar energy efficiency.
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Submission + - Another Neurodegenerative Disease Linked To A Prion->

MTorrice writes: A new study concludes that a brain protein causes the rare, Parkinson’s-like disease called multiple systems atrophy (MSA) by acting like a prion, the misbehaving type of protein infamously linked to mad cow disease. The researchers say the results are the most definitive demonstration to date that proteins involved in many neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, exhibit prionlike behavior: They can misfold into shapes that then coax others to do the same, leading to protein aggregation that forms neurotoxic clumps. If these other diseases are caused by prionlike proteins, then scientists could develop treatments that slow or stop disease progression by designing molecules that block prion propagation.
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Submission + - Ada and Her Legacy

nightcats writes: Nature has an extensive piece on the legacy of the "enchantress of abstraction," the extraordinary Victorian-era computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron. Her monograph on the Babbage machine was described by Babbage himself as a creation of...

“that Enchantress who has thrown her magical spell around the most abstract of Sciences and has grasped it with a force that few masculine intellects (in our own country at least) could have exerted over it”

Ada's remarkable merging of intellect and intuition — her capacity to analyze and capture the conceptual and functional foundations of the Babbage machine — is summarized with a historical context which reveals the precocious modernity of her scientific mind:

By 1841 Lovelace was developing a concept of “Poetical Science”, in which scientific logic would be driven by imagination, “the Discovering faculty, pre-eminently. It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science.” She saw mathematics metaphysically, as “the language of the unseen relations between things”; but added that to apply it, “we must be able to fully appreciate, to feel, to seize, the unseen, the unconscious”. She also saw that Babbage's mathematics needed more imaginative presentation.

Submission + - Is this software's industrial revolution?

An anonymous reader writes: Tech company, Code Valley, makes a bold claim that a software industrial revolution may be imminent. They propose to shift developers from the code-domain (current software development practice) to a 'design-domain,' where the emphasis is no longer on writing code, but is on decentralised design – code becomes simply a by-product of this collaboration. In this design-domain, software programs are designed (and built) by a peer-to-peer supply-chain of software vendors, each owned and managed by a software engineer. Code Valley claims that their technology allows each vendor to operate with complete physical IP-protection. They envisage a global supply-chain of these software experts, fuelled by bitcoin, capable of reliably delivering immensely complex software programs – a “design-domain of limitless potential, software’s industrial revolution.”

Submission + - Pioneer Looks To Laserdisc Tech for Low-Cost LIDAR->

itwbennett writes: Pioneer is developing a 3D LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor for use in autonomous vehicles that could be a fraction of the cost of current systems (the company envisions a price point under $83). Key to this is technology related to optical pickups once used in laserdisc players, which Pioneer made for 30 years.
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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Storing family videos and pictures for posterity? 2

jalvarez13 writes: I'm in my early 40's and I will become a dad in less than a month. Until now I've been quite happy with a Canon Powershot S110 for taking pictures and video, but now I'm thinking in longer terms. If some of you have already thought or done something about this, what did you consider when buying photo/video equipment? I guess there are important decisions you made about to image quality, file formats, storage type, organising and labelling software, etc.

I'm also wondering if there are any other technologies (stereoscopic cameras?) that I haven't thought about and may be interesting to look at.

Submission + - From Train to Car - Copenhagen New All-Electric Carsharing With Public Transit->

dkatana writes: Residents in Copenhagen have a new all-electric, free-floating, carsharing service.

DriveNow is launching today 400 brand new BMW i3 electric cars in the Danish city. The service is one-way, and metered by the minute.

The big news is that residents can sign-up on the spot taking a picture of their drivers' license and a selfie and use their public transport accounts to pay.

There will be a car available every 300 meters, the same distance as bus stops. The cost will be 3.50 kroner ($0.52) per minute driven. If members decide to park the car for a few minutes continuing the rental, those stationary minutes are charged at 2.5 kroner ($0.37). The maximum charge per hour is capped at 190 kroner ($28.50). There is no annual fee.

Denmark is possible the most expensive country in the world to own a car, and most people commute to work by bicycle or public transport.

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Submission + - Easy-To-Clean Membrane Separates Oil From Water->

ckwu writes: A steel mesh with a novel self-cleaning coating can separate oil and water, easily lifting oil from an oil-water mixture and leaving the water behind. Unlike existing oil-water separation membranes, if the coated mesh gets contaminated with oil, it can be simply rinsed off with water and reused, without needing to be cleaned with detergents. The team was able to use the mesh to lift crude oil from a crude oil-seawater mixture, showcasing the feasibility of oil-spill cleanup. The membrane could also be used to treat oily wastewater and as a protective barrier in industrial sewer outlets to avoid oil discharge.
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Submission + - Slowing Wind Energy Production Suffers From Lack of Wind

HughPickens.com writes: Gregory Meyer reports at CNBC that electricity generated by US wind farms fell 6 per cent in the first half of the year even as the nation expanded wind generation capacity by 9 per cent. The reason was some of the softest air currents in 40 years, cutting power sales from wind farms to utilities and the situation is likely to intensify into the first quarter of 2016 as the El Niño weather phenomenon holds back wind speeds around much of the US. "We never anticipated a drop-off in the wind resource as we have witnessed over the past six months," says David Crane. Wind generated 4.4 per cent of US electricity last year, up from 0.4 per cent a decade earlier. But this year US wind plants' "capacity factor" has averaged just a third of their total generating capacity, down from 38 per cent in 2014. EIA noted that slightly slower wind speeds can reduce output by a disproportionately large amount. "Capacity factors for wind turbines are largely determined by wind resources," says a report from the Energy Information Administration. "Because the output from a turbine varies nonlinearly with wind speed, small decreases in wind speeds can result in much larger changes in output and, in turn, capacity factors." In January of 2015, wind speeds remained 20 to 45 percent below normal on areas of the west coast, but it was especially bad in California, Oregon, and Washington, where those levels dropped to 50 percent below normal during the month of January.

Some also speculate the the increase in the number of wind farms may be having an effect. Since wind turbines extract kinetic energy from the air around them, and since less energy makes for weaker winds, turbines make it less windy. Technically speaking, the climate zone right behind a turbine (or behind all the turbines on a wind farm) experiences what's called a "wind speed vacuum," or a "momentum deficit." In other words, the air slows down and upwind turbines in a densely packed farm may weaken the breeze before it reaches the downwind ones. A study in 2013 also found that large wind farms could be expected to influence local and regional atmospheric circulations. "If wind farms were constructed on a truly massive scale," adds Daniel Engbar, "their cumulative momentum deficit could conceivably alter wind speeds on a global scale."

Submission + - Government still hasn't notified individuals whose personal data was hacked

schwit1 writes: Months after the federal government admitted publicly that the personal data of more than 20 million government employees had been hacked they still have not sent notifications to those millions.

Instead, they've turned this into an opportunity to spend taxpayer money for their friends!

        The agency whose data was hacked, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), said the Defense Department will begin "later this month" to notify employees and contractors across the government that their personal information was accessed by hackers. OPM said notifications would continue over several weeks and "will be sent directly to impacted individuals."

        OPM also announced that it hired a contractor to help protect the identities and credit ratings of employees whose data was hacked. In a statement, OPM said it had awarded a contract initially worth more than $133 million to a company called Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC, doing business as ID experts, for identity theft protections for the 21.5 million victims of the security data breach. The contractor will provide credit and identity monitoring services for three years, as well as identity theft insurance, to affected individuals and dependent children aged under 18, the agency said.

Hopefully they aren't as incompetent as the company chosen to build the Obamacare website.

Submission + - 'Extremely critical' OS X keychain vulnerability steals passwords via SMS-> 1

Mark Wilson writes: Two security researchers have discovered a serious vulnerability in OS X that could allow an attacker to steal passwords and other credentials in an almost invisible way. Antoine Vincent Jebara and Raja Rahbani — two of the team behind the myki identity management security software — found that a series of terminal commands can be used to extract a range of stored credentials.

What is particularly worrying about the vulnerability is that it requires virtually no interaction from the victim; simulated mouse clicks can be used to click on hidden buttons to grant permission to access the keychain. Apple has been informed of the issue, but a fix is yet to be issued. The attack, known as brokenchain, is disturbingly easy to execute.

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Submission + - Netflix Open Sources Sleepy Puppy XSS Hunter->

msm1267 writes: Netflix has released a tool it calls Sleepy Puppy to open source. The tool injects cross-site scripting payloads into a target app that may not be vulnerable, but could be stored in a database and and tracks the payload if it's reflected to a secondary application that makes use of the data in the same field.

“We were looking for a way to provide coverage on applications that come from different origins or may not be publicly accessible,” said co-developer Scott Behrens, a senior application security engineer at Netflix. “We also wanted to observe where stored data gets reflected back, and how data that may be stored publicly could also be reflected in a large number of internal applications.”

Sleepy Puppy is available on Netflix's Github repository and is one of a slew of security tools its engineers have released to open source.

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Submission + - Bunch of Tech Pros Miserable, It Seems->

Nerval's Lobster writes: So what if you work for a tech company that offers free lunch, in-house gym, and dry cleaning? A new survey suggests that a majority of software engineers, developers, and sysadmins are miserable. Granted, the survey in question only involved 5,000 respondents, so it shouldn't be viewed as comprehensive (it was also conducted by a company that deals in employee engagement), but it's nonetheless insightful into the reasons why a lot of tech pros apparently dislike their jobs (Dice link). Apparently perks don't matter quite so much if your employees have no sense of mission, don't have a clear sense of how they can get promoted, and don't interact with their co-workers very well. While that should be glaringly obvious, a lot of companies are still fixated on the idea that minor perks will apparently translate into huge morale boosts; but free smoothies in the cafeteria only goes so far.
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