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+ - This is What's the Matter with Kansas->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "So glad to see this; this is what happens when ideology replaces good governing (regardless of what that ideology is). John Judis looks at Sam Brownback's term as governor of Kansas, in which Brownback created what he thought was a conservative utopia (the year Brownback won, 2010, the GOP won every federal and statewide office in the state, as well). What's happened since then is a disaster for the good citizens of Kansas. Good read, well sourced."
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+ - The Crucial Sticking Point in the Iran Nuclear Negotiations->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "As the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers resume, most observers recognize two main sticking points: How much to limit Tehran’s ability to enrich uranium, and how sanctions will be lifted. There is a third, crucial point that many in the West thought settled. but in fact, may be the point that makes the deal break down: the 40-megawatt, heavy water thermal reactor at Aruk. There have been conflicting reports about the reactor's future, but it seems clear to anyone paying attention to what the Iranians are actually saying that Arak poses a serious roadblock to agreement. 'The West views the reactor as “optimized” for plutonium production.' This is a proliferation concern, as plutonium could be used in a nuclear weapon, and the Arak reactor would be able to hold enough weapons-grade plutonium to make 6 nuclear weapons. Tehran says that it has no desire to develop reprocessing capabilities, and without the ability to reprocess, the country would not be able to separate the plutonium from irradiated fuel. Ariane Tabatabai explains the issue in detail, noting that self-sufficiency is at the 'very core of the Iranian assessment of its practical needs.'"
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+ - Obama Presses China on Global Warming

Submitted by (3830033) writes "The NYT reports that President Obama spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Summit and challenged China to make the same effort to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions and join a worldwide campaign to curb global warming. Obama's words were directly focused on putting the onus on China, an essential partner of the United States if a global climate treaty is to be negotiated by 2015. The United States and China bear a “special responsibility to lead,” said Obama, “That’s what big nations have to do.” The United States, Obama said, would meet a pledge to reduce its carbon emissions by 17 percent, from 2005 levels, by 2020 — a goal that is in large part expected to be met through proposed EPA regulation.

There were indications that China might be ready with its own plan, although many experts say they will be skeptical until Chinese officials reveal the details. A senior Chinese official said his country would try to reach a peak level of carbon emissions “as early as possible.” That suggested that the Chinese government, struggling with air pollution so extreme that it has threatened economic growth, regularly kept millions of children indoors and ignited street protests, was determined to show faster progress in curbing emissions. In recent years, the Chinese government has sent other signals about addressing carbon pollution, some of them encouraging to environmental experts. “Five years ago, it was almost unimaginable to discuss China putting a cap on carbon, but now that is happening,” said Lo Sze Ping, chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund’s office in Beijing. “Chinese leaders have seen that it is imperative to move toward a low-carbon economy.”"

+ - The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "This is an important read. If the speech that Emma Watson gave to the United Nations gathering on September 21st can cause such misogyny, then the very act of women speaking will cause it (which seems to be the case when it comes to the internet). 'Emma Watson makes a wonderful UN Goodwill Ambassador. If the campaign she champions is successful, she will have done tremendous good in the world. There is nothing about her private, consensual sexual life that has any bearing on the value of her work, the validity of her feminist views, or her integrity as a person. If her stolen nude photos are leaked on the internet in retaliation for her work, that will not mean that she was irresponsible or reckless, it will mean that she is brave. Regardless of whether any photos are released, the threats against Watson are already an attack on all of us. And we should all take it personally.'"
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+ - The myths (and realities) of synthetic bioweapons->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Three researchers from King's College, London, walk through the security threats posed by synthetic and do-it-yourself biology, assessing whether changes in technology and associated costs make it any easier for would-be terrorists to pursue biological weapons for high-consequence, mass- casualty attacks (and even whether they would want to). 'Those who have overemphasized the bioterrorism threat typically portray it as an imminent concern, with emphasis placed on high-consequence, mass-casualty attacks, performed with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This is a myth with two dimensions.'"
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+ - Getting around the UN's ban on blinding laser weapons->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Despite the UN’s 1995 Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, the world is moving closer to laser weapons in both military and law enforcement situations that can cause temporary and even permanent blindness. Military-funded research in this area continues to be conducted by the Optical Radiation Bioeffects and Safety program, and already "dazzlers" have been in use in Afghanistan. Domestic versions of these weapons are intended for use by law enforcement agencies and in theory cause motion-sickness type illness but not blindness. 'But something bright enough to dazzle at 300 meters can cause permanent eye damage at 50 meters, and these devices can be set to deliver a narrow (and more intense) beam. To get around the ban against blinding weapons, systems like the GLIS run off of a low-power source.' Great info."
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+ - Hypersonic Missile Testing Should be Banned Now, Before They Actually Work-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Mark Gubrud has a fascinating piece arguing for the US to lead the way in calling for a ban on the testing of hypersonic missiles, a technology that the US has been developing for decades. China has also started testing these weapons, which proponents optimistically claim would not be used to deliver nuclear weapons. Russia, India, and a few other countries are also joining in the fray, so a ban on testing would stop an arms race in its tracks. Good discussion of the two types of hypersonic technology, and whether that technology has civilian applications."
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+ - Grand Ayatollah Issues Fatwa Stating High Speed Internet is against Sharia

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "What at first instance looks like a hoax turns out to be a real statement from Irans Ayatollah.
A Grand Ayatollah in Iran has determined that access to high-speed and 3G Internet is “against Sharia” and “against moral standards.”
This puts ofcourse the discussion about net neutrality in a different perspective. Is internet throttling by the ISP then allowed? Up till what speed then? Luckily for the Iranians, the Fatwa is not mandatory. Also: once the new network with censorship is in place, the Fatwa will most likely be removed"

+ - Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, but Nowhere to Go-> 1

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The U.S. government is looking for trains to haul radioactive waste from nuclear power plants to disposal sites. Too bad those trains have nowhere to go.

Putting the cart before the horse, the U.S. Department of Energy recently asked companies for ideas on how the government should get the rail cars needed to haul 150-ton casks filled with used, radioactive nuclear fuel.

They won't be moving anytime soon. The latest government plans call for having an interim test storage site in 2021 and a long-term geologic depository in 2048.

No one knows where those sites will be, but the Obama administration is already thinking about contracts to develop, test and certify the necessary rail equipment."

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+ - Feynman Lectures Released Online, Free 2

Submitted by Anna Merikin
Anna Merikin (529843) writes "In 1964, Richard Feynman delivered a series of seven hour-long lectures at Cornell University which were recorded by the BBC, and in 2009 (with a little help from Bill Gates), were released to the public. The three-volume set may be the most popular collection of physics books ever written, and now the complete online edition has been made available in HTML 5 through a collaboration between Caltech (where Feyman first delivered these talks, in the early 1960s) and The Feynman Lectures Website. The online edition is "high quality up-to-date copy of Feynman's legendary lectures," and, thanks to the implementation of scalable vector graphics, "has been designed for ease of reading on devices of any size or shape; text, figures and equations can all be zoomed without degradation."

Volume I deals mainly with mechanics, radiation and heat; Volume II with electromagnetism and matter; and Volume III with quantum mechanics."

+ - From nukes to killer robots: how amoral technologies become immoral weapons->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Interesting philosophical discussion of the process by which lethal technology usually becomes governed by treaty only after it's been used, and how autonomous killer robots need to be examined and governed now, before they are deployed. 'Because technologically advanced countries typically enjoy political and economic power, nations inventing new weapons are often able to shape the relevant international legal framework. This trend has continued with the introduction of emerging technologies since 1945.'"
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+ - Senator wants all US cops to wear video cameras->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Ferguson teen's shooting death may dramatically expand the surveillance society.

Claire McCaskill, the Democratic senator from Missouri, says police departments nationwide should require their officers to wear body cameras in order to qualify for the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding they receive each year.

McCaskill's comments come in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting death of Michael Brown and is one of a myriad of calls in the episode's aftermath for police officers to wear video cams.

"Everywhere I go, people now have cameras," McCaskill said Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with voters in her home state. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

The lawmaker did not offer legislation to support her words.

McCaskill, however, is not alone in her thinking. Last week, an online petition asking the White House to require all police departments to wear lapel cameras hit 100,000 signatures. The Obama administration has promised to publicly address petitions reaching 100,000 signatures."

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+ - Climate damage 'Irreversible' according leaked climate report 1

Submitted by SomeoneFromBelgium
SomeoneFromBelgium (3420851) writes "According to Bloomberg a leaked climate report of the IPPC speaks of 'Irreversible Damage'.
The warnings in the report are, as such, not new but the tone of voice is more urgent and more direct than ever.

It states among other things that global warming already is affecting “all continents and across the oceans,” and that “Risks from mitigation can be substantial, but they do not involve the same possibility of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts as risks from climate change, increasing the benefits from near-term mitigation action,”"

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins