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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - You need a flamethrower->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "You've always wanted one, of course. Zombies, the occasional alien infestation. The neighbor's smelly roses. You just need to be prepared for things. You can get freeze dried food, AR15's, enough ammo to start a small police action (at least here in the USA, YMMV), but it has been difficult to get a modern, portable flamethrower until now.

CNET has an brief explanation on what is now available for your inner demon."

Link to Original Source

+ - Space X - Going where no one has gone before->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "This Friday, SpaceX will attempt what no agency or company has done before: land a used rocket stage on a floating ocean platform. The effort will be made during the private spaceflight company's fifth paid cargo run to the International Space Station. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 is scheduled for 1:22 p.m. EST (18:22 UTC)."
Link to Original Source

+ - Mars Rover finds evidence of Taco Bell?->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "Most methane on earth has a biological origin — microbes, cows, burritos. It has been long observed that there is a very low level of methane production on Mars. It's specific origin is unclear. Certainly one answer would be some sort of biologic process. The Mars Rover, Curiosity has been sampling methane levels on a regular basis and has noted several small spikes.

A BBC article discusses the data further and offers some clues and further areas of research. Unfortunately it is a bit premature to postulate that the Martian Counsel can order takeout."

Link to Original Source

+ - Code Humor->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "A coder with the nic Zen Albatross has found a bit of humor in the sad state of affairs of Google's ongoing attempts to keep the NSA out of everyone's electronic panties. Reported in the Blaze, the bit of humor embedded in the comment goes back to a rather un funny slide of how the three letter agency compromised transit between Google servers.

That's one point for open code."

Link to Original Source

+ - Photo Geek 2013 Contest Results->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "If you are at all interested in the mechanics and physics of photography, you can do much worse than spend a few minutes perusing the weird and often amazing pictures of the Photo Geek 2013 contest. If you're still not sated, you can read some more of Roger Cicala's LensRentals blog and learn more than you ever thought possible or necessary about testing and evaluating modern cameras and lenses."
Link to Original Source

+ - How to warm up your Christmas - "Cold Fusion" for sale-> 2

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "Be the first on your block (or country for that matter). Amaze your friends and confound the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The first cold fusion power plant is now available to pre-order. The E-Cat 1MW Plant, which comes in a standard shipping container, can produce one megawatt of thermal energy, using low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) — a process, often known as cold fusion, that fuses nickel and hydrogen into copper, producing energy 100,000 times more efficiently than combustion. It sounds like E-Cat is now taking orders for delivery in early 2014, priced fairly reasonably at $1.5 million. Has cold fusion — the answer to all our energy needs — finally made its way to market?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Obamacare going to the dogs.->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes ""Fort Collins, [Colorado], resident Shane Smith told a local Fox News Affiliate that he received a letter last week informing his dog,Baxter, that a health insurance account had been opened for the pup through Connect for Health Colorado. Smith told the station he had to sign up for coverage through the state exchange because his health insurance plan was cancelled under ObamaCare. He isn’t sure how Baxter wound up getting enrolled instead, but he said he did give Baxter’s name as a security question as part of the registration process." First the NSA backs all all your data. Now the Feds insure your security questions. What's not to like?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Nothing new under the sun->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "Recent revelations surrounding the documents leaked by Edward Snowden and Chelsea / Bradley Manning have painted the US intelligence services and the US military in a less than flattering light. A recent short article on the Atlantic website points out that secrecy, duplicity and a narrow, near paranoid view of the world existed in the minds of the US military and intelligence communities during the Kennedy administration.

From the start of his presidency, Kennedy feared that the Pentagon brass would overreact to Soviet provocations and drive the country into a disastrous nuclear conflict. The Soviets might have been pleased—or understandably frightened—to know that Kennedy distrusted America’s military establishment almost as much as they did.

TFA puts a bit of historical context into the recent discussions we have been having. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". (George Santayana)."
Link to Original Source

+ - Is this YOUR policy? Would you like it back?-> 2

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "Recently IS at my small hospital created an "Acceptable Use Policy" for our institution. Being the sort of anal compulsive guy that I am, I actually read it. That prompted me to attempt to figure out where it came from which led me to the SANS site. This purports to be "the most trusted and by far the largest source for information security training and security certification in the world. It also develops, maintains, and makes available at no cost, the largest collection of research documents about various aspects of information security, and it operates the Internet's early warning system — the Internet Storm Center" Be that as it may, I thought at least the Computer Use Policy had some real dumb features. I'm most concerned about the section on information ownership:

Hospital’s network administration desires to provide a reasonable level of privacy, users should be aware that the data they create on the organization’s systems remains the property of... Hospital.

Not sure how that is going to work out overall, seems a bit over arching — like what, precisely, is 'data'? But the thing that really has me annoyed because it clobbers my work flow is the fun statement:

All PCs, laptops and workstations should be secured with a password-protected screensaver with the automatic activation feature set at 10 minutes or less, or by logging-off when the host will be unattended.

My point being that a generic, hardcoded time to lock the workstation is a dumb idea, especially when many of the computers are located within a controlled environment. Logging in a couple of dozen times per day is not how I would define a productive use of my time. Has anyone else found an 'authorative" pontification of these ideas, especially in regards to healthcare systems in the US? (Hopefully the rest of the world isn't as batshit insane as we are)."
Link to Original Source

+ - Supremes nix gene patents

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "The ongoing story of Myriad Genetics versus the rest of the world has come to an end. In a 9-0 decision, the US Supreme Court has decided that human genes cannot be patented. From a brief Bloomberg article:

Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas said isolated DNA is a “product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.” At the same time, Thomas said synthetic molecules known as complementary DNA, or cDNA, can be patented because they require a significant amount of human manipulation to create.

Seems perfectly sane. Raw genes, the ones you find in nature are, wait for it — natural. Other bits of manipulated DNA / RNA / protein which take skill and time to create are potentially patentable. Oddly, Myriad Genetics stock actually rose on that information."

+ - Lizard named for Jim Morrison; Hunter S. Thompson comes in second.->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "The LA Times has a quick article on a newly named giant lizard:

"An ancient plant eating lizard that looked like an iguana but was closer in size to a German shepherd has been named after Jim Morrison, the late troubled and charismatic lead singer of the Doors.The lizard's name was chosen by Jason Head, a paleontologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a hard-core Doors fan since college."

Hunter S. Thompson, who hallucinated presumably somewhat more carnivorous lounge lizards, was also considered for the honor. Perhaps next round."

Link to Original Source
Mars

+ - Another Weird Shiny Thing on Mars.->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "The Mars Science Laboratory (AKA Curiosity) seems adept at finding curious items on the Martian surface. Not withstanding the little incident with the Madi Gras beads, there are been a couple of other unidentified objects found in the rover's path. The latest object appears as a small, half centimeter metallic bit sitting up in a rock. Part of an ancient Martian civilization? Part of Curiosity? Part of the sound stage in Arizona?

At least this one doesn't appear to be hoax."

Link to Original Source
Mars

+ - Martian Terror Movie->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "Forget the scary bits in Prometheus. JPL has it's own planetside terror trailer. 7 Minutes of Terror is a well done video short describing the difficulty of landing the Curiosity Lander on Mars.

Watching this thing, you have to be impressed with JPL's risk taking. Certainly a step beyond the usual NASA conservative thinking.

It's going to be a scary ride in August.

We have obviously covered much of this before"

Link to Original Source
Space

+ - It's Baaack! XB-37B finally lands.->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "The US Air Force / DARPA 'baby shuttle', the Boeing built XB-37B has just landed after 469 days in orbit. No official explanation of why controllers kept the mission going past the original duration of 270 days other than 'because we could'.

I, for one, welcome our long duration, unmanned orbital overlords."

Link to Original Source

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