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Earth

Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site 465

Posted by timothy
from the vanity-project dept.
HughPickens.com writes The NYT reports that Peruvian authorities say Greenpeace activists have damaged the fragile, and restricted, landscape near the Nazca lines, ancient man-made designs etched in the Peruvian desert when they placed a large sign that promoted renewable energy near a set of lines that form the shape of a giant hummingbird. The sign was meant to draw the attention of world leaders, reporters and others who were in Lima, the Peruvian capital, for a United Nations summit meeting aimed at reaching an agreement to address climate change. Greenpeace issued a statement apologizing for the stunt at the archaeological site and its international executive director, Kumi Naidoo, flew to Lima to apologize for scarring one of Peru's most treasured national symbols. "We are not ready to accept apologies from anybody," says Luis Jaime Castillo, the vice minister for cultural heritage. "Let them apologize after they repair the damage."

Comment: VM/CMS DASD mounts (Score 1) 231

by FeatherBoa (#47827751) Attached to: Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

When I was first in school -- and by school I mean graduate school -- the school had a IBM running VM/CMS for general computing. Everyone had an account. In those days you could set up virtual disks to be shared and there was a mount command in exec 2 that let you mount a shared volume given the password. A lot of people would put the mount command and password in an executable script that would run at login. When a professor or admin gave you credentials to a volume, it might have a script in it with credentials for another volume.

I wrote an exec2 program to sift through the files in a volume looking for shared volume mount commands, then recursively mount and search any found volumes. It seemed to work pretty well.

At that point I showed the script to a random undergrad and forgot about it. He was later expelled and arrested.

Communications

New Technology Uses Cellular Towers For Super-Accurate Weather Measurements 42

Posted by timothy
from the gives-each-droplet-ipv6-address dept.
Iddo Genuth (903542) writes "Israeli scientists from the Tel Aviv University perfected a method for using cell phone service towers' microwave emitters to measure rain and snow and even (for the first time ) detect fog with great accuracy over vast areas in real time. The research team members have analyzed endless amounts of raw cellular data and developed more accurate ways to measure meteorological information and added more parameters that they can now measure using their growing database. When combined with existing meteorological monitoring technologies such as radars and local ground based weather stations, the results show unprecedented level of accuracy that can give better and further weather forecast as well as special warnings about upcoming floods, fog and hail which can affect both people and crop production."
Space

3 Former Astronauts: Earth-Asteroid Collisions Are a Real But Preventable Danger 71

Posted by timothy
from the asteroid-survival-movies-are-great dept.
Three former astronauts — Ed Lu, Tom Jones, and Bill Anders — say that reassuring figures about the rarity of asteroid collisions with Earth are perhaps too reassuring. The B612 Foundation, of which Lu is a director, has been established to draw public awareness to the risks of a large asteroid hitting a population center -- which these three men say is a far more serious public danger than has been acknowledged by NASA and other agencies. And beyond awareness, the Foundation's immediate goal is to raise money to " design and build an asteroid-finding space telescope and launch it by 2017," and then, Armageddon-style, to follow that up with technology to divert any asteroids whose path would threaten earth.

Comment: What do you suppose "US persons" means? (Score 1) 134

by FeatherBoa (#46150617) Attached to: NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

The critical issue here is that we don't know exactly what "US Person" means. Canada is in the throes of the same issue, with the US demanding access to banking records for any US Persons, and the scope of this is troubling.

US Persons includes US citizens, of course. But it includes folks who might be entitled to citizenship through birth or parentage, whether or not they are actual citizens. It would include anyone who has ever resided in the US. And the definition can be manipulated to mean whatever the US decides it to mean, down the road. It could eventually mean anyone who has visited the US or anyone who has a dollar-denominated bank account or basically anyone who they are interested in.

There is no burden of proof on the IRS to show that they are entitled to specific records. They can ask for anyone's records and claim "US Person" interest. Do you suppose they will not simply vacuum up everything?

And if there is any avenue for information to come to the US government, you know that the NSA will have it. And the DEA and all the rest.

Portables (Apple)

GPUs Dropping Dead In 2011 MacBook Pro Models 359

Posted by Soulskill
from the satisfaction-is-not-guaranteed dept.
New submitter blackwizard writes "MacRumors is reporting on pervasive GPU failures in 2011 MacBook Pro machines, leading both to intermittent video issues, corruption, crashing/freezing, and eventually even failure to boot. Luckily for Apple, the machines are now out of warranty (unless you bought AppleCare). The issues have been reported both on Apple's own forums and other blogs. Apple has so far failed to take action on the problem. Will they take ownership of the issue, or continue to ask customers to pay for an entire new logic board when just the GPU fails?"
Medicine

Effects of Parkinson's-Disease Mutation Reversed In Cells 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the flipping-genetic-switches dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from a press release at Eurekalert: "UC San Francisco scientists working in the lab used a chemical found in an anti-wrinkle cream to prevent the death of nerve cells damaged by mutations that cause an inherited form of Parkinson's disease. A similar approach might ward off cell death in the brains of people afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, the team suggested in a study reported online in the journal Cell on August 15 (abstract). ... Mutations that cause malfunction of the targeted enzyme, PINK1, are directly responsible for some cases of early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Loss of PINK1 activity is harmful to the cell’s power plants, called mitochondria, best known for converting food energy into another form of chemical energy used by cells, the molecule ATP. In Parkinson’s disease, poorly performing mitochondria have been associated with the death of dopamine-producing nerve cells in a region of the brain called the substantia nigra, which plays a major role in control of movement. Loss of these cells is a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease and the cause of prominent symptoms including rigidity and tremor. A UCSF team led by Shokat, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, used the chemical, called kinetin, to increase mutant PINK1 enzyme activity in nerve cells to near normal levels. 'In light of the fact that mutations in PINK1 produce Parkinson’s disease in humans, the finding that kinetin can speed mutated PINK1 activity to near normal levels raises the possibility that kinetin may be used to treat these patients,' Shokat said."

Comment: Re:The patent must run out soon... (Score 2) 579

by FeatherBoa (#43712929) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Patent Case

"We introduced our second-generation Roundup Ready soybean technology in 2009"

So all the seeds in normal circulation now are "Genuity RoundUp Ready 2". Unless there are stocks of viable 2008 seeds around, there may not be so easy to get original patent-expired breeding stock. Whatever the new trait in "genuity" is, Monsanto just has to prove that it is in your glyphosate-resistant crop to come after you. And it most likely will be, because of cross-pollination contamination from fields with the new stuff in them.

Comment: Java (Score 3, Interesting) 58

by FeatherBoa (#43304415) Attached to: The FreeBSD Foundation Is Soliciting Project Proposals

I would like to see improved Java support. What we have now is all either hacks based on running the Linux JVM as a compatible ABI, or you have to build a JVM from source due to licensing. I would like to see a commercial JVM run natively. Ideally IBM's.

That's not something FreeBSD can do though, I don't expect.

Businesses

How Red Hat Hires 113

Posted by timothy
from the hands-off-my-foot dept.
New submitter markfeffer, Senior Editor at Dice, writes "Red Hat's hired about 600 people in its last three fiscal quarters, and it's going to keep hiring – about 900 to 1,000 more this year. The company's primarily looking for software and technical support engineers, along with salespeople who can help strengthen its cloud-technology capabilities. They want people with strong technical skills, of course, but the company puts a premium on those who've taken the time to research its business and send in a resume that's custom-tailored to the job opening."

Torque is cheap.

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