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Comment: Re:BarbaraHudson is an absolute idiot (Score 2) 89

by PapayaSF (#47700453) Attached to: Blackberry Moves Non-Handset Divisions Into New Business Unit

Time to throw in the towel when it's the first time in years the company is making a profit? Why the fuck would BlackBerry want to do that?

Because it's the first time in years the company is making a profit? Won't that mean they'd get more for it?

Yes, people have been predicting doom for Blackberry for a while, but it's hard to see some big turnaround on the horizon, with millions of people abandoning Apple and Android.

(My, how times change. The first iPhone came out a little over seven years ago, to widespread mockery: "It has no keyboard!" "It's too expensive!" "Businesses and government will never abandon their Blackberries!" And now Blackberry is a shadow of it's former self, and we're arguing whether they're totally doomed or not....)

Comment: Re: Motive? (Score 3, Interesting) 358

by PapayaSF (#47696351) Attached to: Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

On the bright side (?) they don't likely have the tech to weaponize anything, and will wind up killing a lot of themselves instead.. or so one can hope.

Suicidal fanatics don't need tech to weaponize ebola. They can just infect themselves, hop on a plane, and leave spit and sweat on the bathroom door handles on the plane, plus whatever they can do when they get to their destination. The incubation period is long enough for them to fly to Mexico City, get to the US border, and join a group of illegals heading north, before they become too incapacitated to travel. But they need not bother with entering illegally: they can just fly straight in to a US airport.

Earth

Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-forget-the-tartar dept.
An anonymous reader writes NPR commentator Bonny Wolf has a unique solution to battle the threat of invasive fish species in our waterways. She proposes we fight them with a knife, fork, and a few lemon wedges. From the article: "Take the northern snakehead, which has made its way into tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. It competes with native species for food, and then eats the native species, not to mention the odd frog or bird, with its mouthful of sharp teeth. It's been called "Fishzilla." It breeds fast, has no natural predators and can grow to be 4 feet long. The northern snakehead hangs out in grassy shallows, making it hard to catch. But a couple of years ago, Maryland started promoting the snakehead as an eating fish. Its harvest has increased from zero to 5,000 pounds a year."
Transportation

Berlin Bans Car Service Uber 338

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-here dept.
An anonymous reader is just one of many who have pointed out that things don't look good for Uber in Berlin. Berlin has banned car service Uber, which allows users to summon a ride on their smartphone, for not offering drivers and vehicles licensed to carry passengers, or full insurance cover, the German capital said. The ban takes immediate effect and Uber risks fines of up to 25,000 euros each time it violates the city's Public Transport Act, Berlin authorities said in a statement. Uber said on Thursday it would appeal against the decision, accusing Berlin of denying its people choice and mobility. "As a new entrant we are bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn't changed in years. Competition is good for everyone and it raises the bar and ultimately it's the consumer who wins," said Fabien Nestmann, German General Manager at Uber. Undaunted by the setback in Berlin, Uber has launched uberTAXI in Hong Kong.

Comment: Re:Are You Kidding? (Score 1) 538

by PapayaSF (#47649931) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

Or it indicates that you or the source of that information is utterly full of shit. Sounds like an urban myth, to me.

Here you go.

Jerry Levey, a 6-foot-6, balding, mustachioed New Jersey volunteer fireman who wears his keys jingling on his belt, drinks Budweiser and crushes the cans when he finishes, stared dumbstruck at Mark Newman.

Mark Newman, a 6-foot-6, balding, mustachioed New Jersey volunteer fireman who wears his keys jingling on his belt, drinks Budweiser and crushes the cans when he finishes, stared dumbstruck at Jerry Levey.

The men were identical in almost every visible respect. [...]

For example, why do Newman and Levey have similar styles of dress, opinions and IQs? Is their shared taste for Budweiser inborn, the result of upbringing or mere coincidence? Was their passion for 3 a.m. takeout Chinese food determined in their childhood homes, or by chromosomes? [...]

Both men remember that, growing up in different households, in towns 65 miles apart, they were fascinated by fire trucks and firefighters.

Both became volunteer firemen but say they still yearn to be full-time firefighters.

When they met, Levey made his living installing fire-suppression equipment, such as sprinklers.

Newman made his living installing fire alarms.

Previously, Levey had worked for a lawn-chemical company; Newman installed lawn sprinklers.

"Before that," Newman said, "we both worked for supermarkets, both worked at gas stations, and he went to college for forestry, and I worked directly in the field, as a tree surgeon." [...]

People are often astonished to hear about the New Jersey twins' almost eerie similarities - and more astonished to learn that such striking similarities are the rule, not the exception, among the 100 sets of twins in the Minnesota study.

Comment: Re:Are You Kidding? (Score 4, Interesting) 538

by PapayaSF (#47649401) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

There is no gene which makes you "good at business".

And how do you know that? Studies of identical twins separated at birth and raised apart have found remarkable things: I remember an account of one case where as adults, both men had (among other similarities) chosen identical belt buckles, smoked the same brand of cigarettes, and held the packs in rolled up sleeves of their T-shirts in the same way. Of course, nobody says that proves there's a "belt-buckle choice gene," but it seems to indicate that genes can influence behavior in complex ways we do not understand. The idea that some genetic patterns might make you (on average) better at business is not outlandish at all.

Google

Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police 790

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-not-pass-go dept.
mrspoonsi writes with this story about a tip sent to police by Google after scanning a users email. A Houston man has been arrested after Google sent a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children saying the man had explicit images of a child in his email, according to Houston police. The man was a registered sex offender, convicted of sexually assaulting a child in 1994, reports Tim Wetzel at KHOU Channel 11 News in Houston. "He was keeping it inside of his email. I can't see that information, I can't see that photo, but Google can," Detective David Nettles of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce told Channel 11. After Google reportedly tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Center alerted police, which used the information to get a warrant.
Medicine

US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia 409

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mother-nature-wants-you-to-die dept.
acidradio (659704) writes American air charter specialist Phoenix Air has been contracted by the U.S. Army to haul an American physician afflicted with Ebola from Liberia to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. This will be the first 'purposeful' transport of an Ebola victim to the U.S. The patient will be flown in a special Gulfstream III (formerly owned by the Danish Air Force) outfitted for very specialized medical transports such as this. I dunno. I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea? theodp (442580) writes with related news In response to the Ebola outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Interim Guidance about Ebola Virus Infection for Airline Flight Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel. "Ebola virus is transmitted by close contact with a person who has symptoms of Ebola," the CDC explains. "Close contact is defined as having cared for or lived with a person with Ebola or having a high likelihood of direct contact with blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient. Examples of close contact include kissing or embracing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, close conversation (3 feet), physical examination, and any other direct physical contact between people. Close contact does not include walking by a person or briefly sitting across a room from a person."

Comment: Re:im happy google took this on (Score 1) 46

by PapayaSF (#47572405) Attached to: Google, Linaro Develop Custom Android Edition For Project Ara

I said it last month, but will say it again:

Size matters. Desktop PCs are easy to make modular (unless you want an iMac). Laptops are harder, and besides removable batteries, only a few had any modular components (like a DVD drive swappable for an extra battery). Phones are much more space-constrained. Every millimeter counts, and modularity takes up quite a bit of space at that scale, because each part needs to be enclosed, securely attach to the others, etc.

In short, a modular phone is possible, but the trade-offs will be severe, and you'll be able to pick one or two things (e.g. speed, battery life, extra features, small size, etc.) but not all at the same time. And the prices won't be good, because manufacturer(s) will lose economies of scale: it'll be hard to compete with Apple and Samsung making millions and tens of millions of identical units.

Android

Old Apache Code At Root of Android FakeID Mess 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the write-once-run-anywhere dept.
chicksdaddy writes: A four-year-old vulnerability in an open source component that is a critical part of Android leaves hundreds of millions of mobile devices susceptible to silent malware infections. The vulnerability affects devices running Android versions 2.1 to 4.4 ("KitKat"), according to a statement released by Bluebox. The vulnerability was found in a package installer in affected versions of Android. The installer doesn't attempt to determine the authenticity of certificate chains that are used to vouch for new digital identity certificates. In short, Bluebox writes, "an identity can claim to be issued by another identity, and the Android cryptographic code will not verify the claim."

The security implications of this are vast. Malicious actors could create a malicious mobile application with a digital identity certificate that claims to be issued by Adobe Systems. Once installed, vulnerable versions of Android will treat the application as if it was actually signed by Adobe and give it access to local resources, like the special webview plugin privilege, that can be used to sidestep security controls and virtual 'sandbox' environments that keep malicious programs from accessing sensitive data and other applications running on the Android device. The flaw appears to have been introduced to Android through an open source component, Apache Harmony. Google turned to Harmony as an alternative means of supporting Java in the absence of a deal with Oracle to license Java directly.

Work on Harmony was discontinued in November, 2011. However, Google has continued using native Android libraries that are based on Harmony code. The vulnerability concerning certificate validation in the package installer module persisted even as the two codebases diverged.
Space

How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the call-ahead-before-dropping-by dept.
schwit1 writes: On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth's atmosphere. These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. "If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces," physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA. Fortunately, the blast site of the CMEs was not directed at Earth. Had this event occurred a week earlier when the point of eruption was Earth-facing, a potentially disastrous outcome would have unfolded.

"Analysts believe that a direct hit could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn't even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps. ... According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion, or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair." Steve Tracton put it this way in his frightening overview of the risks of a severe solar storm: "The consequences could be devastating for commerce, transportation, agriculture and food stocks, fuel and water supplies, human health and medical facilities, national security, and daily life in general."

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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