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Comment: hope they win (Score 3, Interesting) 74

On the one hand, it was a dumb purchase on the part of Seattle City Light. But on the other hand, I do think there needs to be some crackdown on bullshit advertising in the SEO/PR sector. Maybe if a few companies get sued for breach of contract, they'll be more careful what services they claim to offer in the future.

+ - @Congressedits tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits from Capitol Hill->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Ed Summers, an open source Web developer, recently saw a friend tweet about Parliament WikiEdits, a UK Twitter “bot” that watched for anonymous Wikipedia edits coming from within the British Parliament’s internal networks. Summers was immediately inspired to do the same thing for the US Congress.

“The simplicity of combining Wikipedia and Twitter in this way immediately struck me as a potentially useful transparency tool,” Summers wrote in his personal blog. “So using my experience on a previous side project [Wikistream, a Web application that watches Wikipedia editing activity], I quickly put together a short program that listens to all major language Wikipedias for anonymous edits from Congressional IP address ranges and tweets them.”

The stream for the bot, @congressedits, went live a day later, and it now provides real-time tweets when anonymous edits of Wikipedia pages are made. Summers also posted the code to GitHub so that others interested in creating similar Twitter bots can riff on his work.

So far, @congressedits hasn’t caught anything scandalous; most of the edits caught have been stylistic changes rather than factual ones. The most interesting edit found so far was to the Wikipedia article on horse head masks—adding a reference to President Obama shaking hands with a man in such a mask on a recent trip to Denver."

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Comment: Re:Dude! Sounds like a real way to make some bread (Score 1) 146

by HiThere (#47438821) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Sorry, but there are lots of very specialized yeast strains. You don't use the same yeast for wine as you do for beer, and that's different from the one you use for bread. Etc. San Francisco sourdough bread used to be made from a regionally available wild yeast, but I think things may have changed so that it no longer lives here. Certainly given the urban levels of pollution I wouldn't want to depend on catching a wild yeast. There was one bakery that used to have a baker who kept his culture growing on his hairy chest, but the food & drug people forbade this., even though it had been safe and popular for decades.

You aren't going to get one strain of yeast to take over the world. Particularly not one that's become dependent on being cultured in a lab.

Comment: Re:Need fast-acting yeast (Score 1) 146

by Trepidity (#47438379) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

I doubt it will be fully legal by 2018. At the state level, I think it's likely more states will decriminalize or even fully legalize, but not all of them. I'll put a guess at: by 2018, it will be fully legal in 15 states, decriminalized in 15, and still criminal to possess in 20 states.

At the federal level, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs would complicate legalization efforts, since the Treaty requires signatories to ban marijuana. And the U.S. doesn't want to undermine this treaty, because it uses the treaty to strongarm other countries over things like coca and poppy growing. It's possible the DEA will lower enforcement priority, though, and maybe possible (though imo this is less likely) that Congress will revise the law to reduce sentences from their current levels.

+ - Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand."
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+ - NSA Admits Retaining Snowden Emails, no FOIA for US press->

Submitted by AHuxley
AHuxley (892839) writes "The http://thedesk.matthewkeys.net... reports on a FOIA request covering "... all e-mails sent by Edward Snowden"
Remember how Snowden should have raised his concerns with his superiors within the NSA?
Remember how no such communication could be found?
Remember how one such communication was released but did not seem to be raising direct concerns?
Well some record of e-mail communications seems to exist but they are exempt from public disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act."

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+ - In New Zealand The Right To Silence And Presumption Of Innocence Are In Danger->

Submitted by cold fjord
cold fjord (826450) writes "The New Zealand Herald reports, "Fundamental pillars of the criminal justice system may be eroded whichever party wins the election this year, as both National's and Labour's proposals would look into changing the right to silence or the presumption of innocence in rape cases. Both major parties claim the current system is not upholding justice for victims, and are looking at changes that would effectively make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions. National wants to explore allowing a judge or jury to see an accused's refusal to give evidence in a negative light, while Labour wants to shift the burden of proof of consent from the alleged victim to the accused.""
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+ - Magnetic Field of Earth Weakening a Sign Poles Are Flipping->

Submitted by Trachman
Trachman (3499895) writes "The magnetic field of Earth is weakening more rapidly than many scientists thought it would, a sign that Earth’s magnetic poles might flip within a few hundred years as opposed to thousands of years. Data collected from Swarm, the collective name for three European Space Agency (ESA) satellites, confirms that Earth’s magnetic field is weakening, something which has led to many past switches in Earth’s magnetic poles.Deep ocean core studies have confirmed, according to NASA, that the Earth’s magnetic poles reverse on a relatively frequent basis. They usually switch anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 years. As it has been 700,000 years or so since a flip has taken place, Earth is overdue for one. The weakening magnetic field might be a sign that the switch will occur sooner, rather than later. Scientists, according to a report by LiveScience, had thought that Earth’s magnetic field was weakening by about five percent every hundred years. At that rate, they calculated that a flip in the Earth’s magnetic fields would not happen for around another 2,000 years. However, the new data from Swarm indicates that Earth’s magnetic field is actually currently weakening at a rate of five percent every decade instead of century. That rate is 10 times faster than the scientists had allowed for in their calculations about when the next flip would happen. That being said, we know that the Earth's magnetic field is primary protecting shield from cosmic particles and, consequently, is a primary factor to the Earth's temperature.

My Scoop is following: At the risk of being not popular here at Slashdot I dare to ask: can magnetic field changes and climate changes be connected and analyzed in concert?"

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Comment: Re:What if they know something we don't? (Score 1) 140

by HiThere (#47436105) Attached to: Chinese State Media Declares iPhone a Threat To National Security

Well...I'm not sure how hidden it is. We know that they are Apple surveilance devices, and we know that Apple will roll over if the Feds ask them to.

That said, I'd be surprised if there weren't zero-day exploits that haven't yet been made public. OTOH, the same is true for EVERY smart phone.

We've also be informed that the NSA records 80% of all voice conversations. (True? False? No way to check.) This plausibly means that they have all cell phone towers bugged. So they probably rarely need to bother Apple for the information.

Siri clearly requires that the phone know where you are to properly understand you. (Also to communicate with you.)

Etc.

So whether they were intentionally designed for the purpose of being a surveilance device or not (I lean towards not) the capabilities are there. It has also been reported that the microphones and cameras can be remotely activated without signal to the user. Bug or feature? Or did it start out as a bug, but has not been documented?

Whatever, what Apple has been accused of seems blatantly true. But perhaps a result of feature creep than of malign intentions.

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