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Earth

Ninety-Nine Percent of the Ocean's Plastic Is Missing 304

Posted by samzenpus
from the In-his-plastic-house-at-R'lyeh-dead-Cthulhu-waits-dreaming dept.
sciencehabit writes Millions of tons. That's how much plastic should be floating in the world's oceans, given our ubiquitous use of the stuff. But a new study (abstract) finds that 99% of this plastic is missing. One disturbing possibility: Fish are eating it. If that's the case, "there is potential for this plastic to enter the global ocean food web," says Carlos Duarte, an oceanographer at the University of Western Australia, Crawley. "And we are part of this food web."
Security

Exploiting Wildcards On Linux/Unix 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the teaching-a-new-dog-old-tricks dept.
An anonymous reader writes: DefenseCode researcher Leon Juranic found security issues related to using wildcards in Unix commands. The topic has been talked about in the past on the Full Disclosure mailing list, where some people saw this more as a feature than as a bug. There are clearly a number of potential security issues surrounding this, so Mr. Juranic provided five actual exploitation examples that stress the risks accompanying the practice of using the * wildcard with Linux/Unix commands. The issue can be manifested by using specific options in chown, tar, rsync etc. By using specially crafted filenames, an attacker can inject arbitrary arguments to shell commands run by other users — root as well.

Comment: Re:I recommend (Score 5, Informative) 176

by Nimey (#47327331) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is It Feasible To Revive an Old Linux PC Setup?

I've gotten Debian 2.2 to run reasonably well in VMware Player. Network and SCSI worked pretty well, don't think the sound did due to a missing driver, and I had to do some work to make X use the VESA framebuffer:

0) In lilo.conf, add "vga=791" (or another value) to the kernel invocation. May have had to compile a kernel with fbdev first.
1) install the xserver-fbdev package
2) copy /usr/share/doc/xserver-fbdev/examples/XF86Config.fbdev to /etc/X11/XF86Config.
3) edit XF86Config to reflect the color depth chosen in the vga= stanza in lilo.conf; with vga=791 it's 16 bits.
4) Same file, edit mouse information to reflect what VMware provides (device is /dev/gpmdata (I have gpm installed, otherwise probably /dev/psaux) and protocol is Microsoft).
5) Edit /etc/X11/Xserver and replace first line with the path to the FBDev X server, e.g. "/usr/bin/X11/XF86_FBDev".

Now you should have a functioning X desktop, assuming you installed the packages. It won't be fast, since it's just the VESA framebuffer, but it's probably the best you can get with VMware and the ancient XFree86 stack in Debian 2.2.

Note that the VMware guest utilities will /not/ work.

Input Devices

Programming On a Piano Keyboard 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the well-tempered-claiverlang dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Here's a fun project: engineer Yuriy Guts built a Visual Studio extension that lets people program using MIDI instruments. You can write code letter by letter on a piano keyboard. Granted, it's not terribly efficient, but it's at least artistic — you can compose music that is also a valid computer program. Somewhat more usefully, it also allows you to turn a simple MIDI input device, like a trigger pad into a set of buttons that will run tests, push/pull code, or other tasks suitable for automation. The extension is open source and open to contributions.
Earth

NOAA: Earth Smashed A Record For Heat In May 2014, Effects To Worsen 547

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-the-koch-bros-say-it's-a-lie dept.
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes with news that NOAA's latest global climate analysis is showing things are getting hotter. From the article: Driven by exceptionally warm ocean waters, Earth smashed a record for heat in May and is likely to keep on breaking high temperature marks, experts say. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday said May's average temperature on Earth of 15.54 C beat the old record set four years ago. In April, the globe tied the 2010 record for that month. Records go back to 1880. Experts say there's a good chance global heat records will keep falling, especially next year because an El Nino weather event is brewing on top of man-made global warming. An El Nino is a warming of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that alters climate worldwide and usually spikes global temperatures.

Comment: Re:XB-70 (Score 1) 133

by Nimey (#47300071) Attached to: The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

The F-86 was developed before the MiG-15 entered combat service. The only thing the MiG did to the Sabre was make the Air Force deploy it quicker because the MiG spanked everything else the Air Force had.

Likewise the MiG-21 and F-4; the F-4 was developed not specifically because of the Fishbed, but because the Navy (and later the Air Force) wanted a modern fighter and it happened that the Fishbed and Phantom were the most modern fighters each side had in Vietnam; they weren't even the same class of airplane: the MiG-21 was a small, fast light fighter/interceptor and the F-4 a big, heavy do-everything fighter-bomber/interceptor, just as the F-16 and Su-27 were in different classes.

Comment: Re:Dishonourable Mentions (Score 1) 133

by Nimey (#47295351) Attached to: The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

I'm not convinced that a bouncing bomb would have been all that effective against ships. The delivering aircraft still has to be close to the target, flying straight, low, and at a certain airspeed, and it's an unguided bomb so there's still a decent chance of a miss (several bombs missed the German dams, for instance). We had other planes that attacked low-and-slow; they were torpedo bombers and fell out of use after 1945 due to being excessively vulnerable to flak during their low, slow and straight attack runs.

In any case, we already had a fairly similar and effective attack method: skip bombing, which works with conventional bombs.

Earth

Climate Change Prompts Emperor Penguins To Find New Breeding Grounds 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the moving-to-better-quarters-on-campus dept.
An anonymous reader writes Researchers have discovered that emperor penguins may not be faithful to their previous nesting locations, as previously thought. Scientists have long thought that emperor penguins were philopatric, returning to the same location to nest each year. However, a new research study showed that the penguins may be behaving in ways that allow them to adapt to their changing environment. Lead author Michelle LaRue said,"Our research showing that colonies seem to appear and disappear throughout the years challenges behaviors we thought we understood about emperor penguins. If we assume that these birds come back to the same locations every year, without fail, these new colonies we see on satellite images wouldn't make any sense. These birds didn't just appear out of thin air—they had to have come from somewhere else. This suggests that emperor penguins move among colonies. That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes."
The Military

The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the pipe-dreams dept.
An anonymous reader writes There have been many US military machines of war that seemed to be revolutionary, but never make it out of the prototype stage. As Robert Farley explains: "Sometimes they die because they were a bad idea in the first place. For the same reasons, bad defense systems can often survive the most inept management if they fill a particular niche well enough." A weapon can seem like an amazing invention, but it still has to adapt to all sorts of conditions--budgetary, politics, and people's plain bias. Here's a look at a few of the best weapons of war that couldn't win under these "battlefield" conditions.

One of the most overlooked advantages to computers is... If they do foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little. -- Joe Martin

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