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Android

Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer 383

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-bet-they-can dept.
An anonymous reader writes: An editorial at Tom's Hardware makes the case that Google's Android fragmentation problem has gotten too big to ignore any longer. Android 5.0 Lollipop and its successor 5.1 have seen very low adoption rates — 9.0% and 0.7% respectively. Almost 40% of users are still on KitKat. 6% lag far behind on Gingerbread and Froyo. The article points out that even Microsoft is now making efforts to both streamline Windows upgrades and adapt Android (and iOS) apps to run on Windows.

If Google doesn't adapt, "it risks having users (slowly but surely) switch to more secure platforms that do give them updates in a timely manner. And if users want those platforms, OEMs will have no choice but to switch to them too, leaving Google with less and less Android adoption." The author also says OEMs and carriers can no longer be trusted to handle operating system updates, because they've proven themselves quite incapable of doing so in a reasonable manner.
Earth

Recent Paper Shows Fracking Chemicals In Drinking Water, Industry Attacks It 313

Posted by timothy
from the they-never-factor-in-the-tastiness dept.
eldavojohn writes: A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences turned up 2-Butoxyethanol from samples collected from three households in Pennsylvania. The paper's level headed conclusion is that more conservative well construction techniques should be used to avoid this in the future and that flowback should be better controlled. Rob Jackson, another scientist who reviewed the paper, stressed that the findings were an exception to normal operations. Despite that, the results angered the PR gods of the Marcellus Shale Gas industry and awoke beltway insider mouthpieces to attack the research — after all, what are they paying them for?
Security

Maritime Cybersecurity Firm: 37% of Microsoft Servers On Ships Are Vulnerable 51

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
colinneagle writes: A report from maritime cybersecurity firm CyberKeel claims that spot checks at 50 different maritime sites revealed that 37% of the servers running Microsoft were still vulnerable because they had not been patched. But what's most interesting is what happens when hackers can breach security in shipping environments, including one case in which "drug gangs were able to smuggle entire container loads of cocaine through Antwerp, one of Belgium's largest ports, after its hackers breached the port's IT network," said Rear Adm. Marshall Lytle, assistant commandant responsible for USCG Cyber Command.
Republicans

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House 549

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
seven of five writes: According to Reuters, "Former Hewlett-Packard Co Chief Executive Carly Fiorina announced on Monday she is running for president, becoming the only woman in the pack of Republican candidates for the White House in 2016. ... Fiorina registers near the bottom of polls of the dozen or so Republican hopefuls and has never held public office. But she has already attracted warm receptions at events in the early voting state of Iowa where she is positioning herself as a conservative, pro-business Republican highly critical of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Fiorina was forced by HP to resign in 2005 as the tech company struggled to digest Compaq after a $19 billion merger."

As part of her announcement, she said, "I think I'm the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works. I understand the world, who's in it, how the world works." I'm sure we'll soon begin hearing from all the HP employees, current and former, who have nothing but love for Carly F.

Comment: Re:Science requires a certain agnosticism (Score 1) 474

by dcollins (#49598973) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

"The only appropriate response is 'Hmmm interesting, let's look into this'."

Sometimes the appropriate response is, "I don't have time for this nonsense". There's always a cost/benefit assessment with one's time about how likely a claimed effect is to be real -- or how important.

The Internet

Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules 437

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-isps? dept.
SonicSpike writes with news about another bump in the road for net neutrality. U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican presidential hopeful, on Wednesday introduced a resolution to block new regulations on Internet service providers, saying they would 'wrap the Internet in red tape.' The 'net neutrality' rules, which are slated to take effect in June, are backed by the Obama administration and were passed by the Democratic majority of the Federal Communications Commission in February. AT&T Inc and wireless and cable trade associations are challenging them in court. Paul's resolution, if adopted, would allow the Senate to fast-track a vote to establish that Congress disapproves of the FCC's new rules and moves to nullify them.
Earth

Ancient Megadrought Entombed Dodos In Poisonous Fecal Cocktail 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the now-that's-a-way-to-go dept.
sciencehabit writes: Nine hundred kilometers off the east coast of Madagascar lies the tiny island paradise of Mauritius. The waters are pristine, the beaches bright white, and the average temperature hovers between 22C and 28C (72F to 82F) year-round. But conditions there may not have always been so idyllic. A new study suggests that about 4000 years ago, a prolonged drought on the island left many of the native species, such as dodo birds and giant tortoises, dead in a soup of poisonous algae and their own feces.
Technology

Breakthough Makes Transparent Aluminum Affordable 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the hello-computer dept.
frank249 writes: In the Star Trek universe, transparent aluminum is used in various fittings in starships, including exterior ship portals and windows. In real life, Aluminium oxynitride is a form of ceramic whose properties are similar to those of the fictional substance seen in Star Trek. It has a hardness of 7.7 Mohs and was patented in 1980. It has military applications as bullet-resistant armor, but is too expensive for widespread use.

Now, there has been a major breakthrough in materials science. After decades of research and development, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory has created a transparent, bulletproof material that can be molded into virtually any shape. This material, known as Spinel (magnesium aluminate), is made from a synthetic powdered clay that is heated and pressed under vacuum into transparent sheets. Spinel weighs just a fraction of a modern bulletproof pane.

Comment: Re:This isn't only happening in America. (Score 2) 355

by dcollins (#49571421) Attached to: University Overrules Professor Who Failed Entire Management Class

Sure, in theory you're right. Schools aren't run by teachers anymore, the power has taken away by PHB administrator management who want to run it like a business. (Just like hospitals aren't run by doctors, etc.) I have a hard time seeing the trend reversing course, however; that's the trajectory of our political economy.

Comment: Re:Should use "Guerrilla Teaching" (Score 4, Informative) 355

by dcollins (#49571397) Attached to: University Overrules Professor Who Failed Entire Management Class

The guy's a temporary adjunct (as most college instructors are nowadays). He probably gets paid about $3000 for all the work all semester for this course. He may not even know 6 other people at the college, never mind have any way of getting them to work for him as proctors. Is all the extra work and re-design worth the $1K left in the semester? Just walking away seems at least arguably better for one's mental health.

Comment: Re:Why even have a class ? (Score 4, Interesting) 355

by dcollins (#49571319) Attached to: University Overrules Professor Who Failed Entire Management Class

I ran into this line in a Wikipedia article last weekend and just stared at it in amazement for a few minutes:

"Others may want a high school diploma to represent primarily a certificate of attendance, so that a student who faithfully attended school but cannot read or write will still get the social benefits of graduation."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-stakes_testing

Comment: Re:Hard to take sides (Score 1) 355

by dcollins (#49571297) Attached to: University Overrules Professor Who Failed Entire Management Class

"Also, at least one of his cheating allegations was investigated and overturned by their university's administration. This sounds mostly like sour grapes."

Nitpick: The Inside Higher Ed article linked above says, "The spokesman said that one cheating allegation referenced by Horwitz has already been investigated and that a **student committee** cleared the student of cheating." So apparently any enforcement is determined by students themselves?

Comment: Re:Hard to take sides (Score 2) 355

by dcollins (#49571247) Attached to: University Overrules Professor Who Failed Entire Management Class

"A competent prof would have taken the most egregious examples and kicked them out of his class"

Generally speaking, that is simply not within a professor's power to enact. At least where I teach, instructors officially have the right to remove a disruptive student from one single class session, but not ever from the course wholesale. Even that one-session right, when I've tried to enact that (a number of years ago), was not actually enforced or recognized by security or supported by administration staff.

Likewise, there's officially a disciplinary panel process, but the school has signaled in the past that they don't want us invoking that.

A debugged program is one for which you have not yet found the conditions that make it fail. -- Jerry Ogdin

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