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+ - Scientists Look For Patterns in North Carolina Shark Attacks

HughPickens.com writes: The Washington Post reports that this is becoming another Summer of the Shark as there have been seven recent shark attacks in North Carolina and scientists are looking for what might be luring the usually shy sharks so close to shore and among the swimmers they usually avoid. North Carolina’s seven shark attacks is an unusual number for a state that recorded 25 attacks between 2005 and 2014. Even with the recent incidents, researchers emphasize that sharks are a very low-level threat to humans, compared with other forms of wildlife. Bees, for example, are much more dangerous. And swimming itself is hazardous even without sharks around.

George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History, speculates that several environmental factors could be pushing sharks to congregate in the Outer Banks. It is a warm year, and the water has a higher level of salinity because of a low-level drought in the area. Also, a common species of forage fish — menhaden — has been abundant this year and might have attracted more sharks to the area. Burgess also says some fishermen put bait in the water near piers, which could lure the predators closer to shore; two of the encounters took place within 100 yards of a pier. “That’s a formula for shark attacks,” Burgess says of these conditions, taken together. “Now, does that explain seven attacks in three weeks? No, it doesn’t.”

Burgess says not to swim near seals, where fishing is occurring, or near other things that sharks find tasty. Sharks can sniff out blood, so don't swim with open wounds. And leave your bling on the beach — sharks are curious about bright, shiny objects, so don't lure them with baubles. Also avoid swimming at dawn and dusk, when sharks tend to feed. Stick together in groups and stay out of the water during and after storms. Aside from dangerous surf and rip currents, decreased water visibility can confuse sharks, prompting mistaken-identity bites. "Always remember," concludes Burgess. "They have bigger teeth, but we have bigger brains."

+ - Theresa May named internet villain of the year->

An anonymous reader writes: The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has been named the UK internet industry’s villain of the year for pursuing “snooper’s charter” legislation without fully consulting the sector.

The gong, part of the annual ISPA awards, was given for “forging ahead with communications data legislation that would significantly increase capabilities without adequate consultation with industry and civil society”.

“With an investigatory powers bill due before parliament in the coming months, it is essential that ISPs are consulted,” the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) added.

Link to Original Source

+ - Frank Herbert's Dune, 50 Years On->

An anonymous reader writes: This October will be the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert's massively popular and influential sci-fi novel Dune. The Guardian has written a piece examining its effects on the world at least, and how the book remains relevant even now. Quoting: "Books read differently as the world reforms itself around them, and the Dune of 2015 has geopolitical echoes that it didn’t in 1965, before the oil crisis and 9/11. ... As Paul’s destiny becomes clear to him, he begins to have visions 'of fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad’Dib.' If Paul accepts this future, he will be responsible for 'the jihad’s bloody swords,' unleashing a nomad war machine that will up-end the corrupt and oppressive rule of the emperor Shaddam IV (good) but will kill untold billions (not so good) in the process. In 2015, the story of a white prophet leading a blue-eyed brown-skinned horde of jihadis against a ruler called Shaddam produces a weird funhouse mirror effect, as if someone has jumbled up recent history and stuck the pieces back together in a different order."
Link to Original Source

+ - When Nerds Do BBQ 1 1

Rick Zeman writes: On this 4th of July, the day that Americans flock to their grills and smokers, Wired has a fascinating article on a computerized smoker designed by Harvard engineering students. They say, "In prototype form, the smoker looks like a combination of a giant pepper mill, a tandoori oven, and V.I.N.CENT from The Black Hole. It weighs 300 pounds. It has a refueling chute built into the side of it. And it uses a proportional-integral-derivative controller, a Raspberry Pi, and fans to regulate its own temperature, automatically producing an ideal slow-and-low burn."

After cooking >200 lbs of brisket fine-tuning the design, the students concluded, "“Old-school pitmasters are like, ‘I cook mine in a garbage can,’ and there’s a point of pride in that,” Parker says. “A lot of the cutting edge is when you take an art form and drag it back onto scientific turf and turn it into an algorithm. I don’t think we’ve diluted the artistic component with this."

+ - Why Electric Vehicles Aren't More Popular->

An anonymous reader writes: Ars takes a look at a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences into the reasons why more people aren't driving electric vehicles. Of course infrastructure issues are a part of it — until charging stations are ubiquitous, the convenience factor for using a gas-powered car will weigh heavily on consumers's minds. (Despite the prevalence of outlets at home and work, where the vast majority of charging will be done even with better infrastructure.) But other reasons are much less intractable. Simply giving somebody experience with an EV tends to make the fog of mystery surrounding them dissipate, and the design of the car counts for a lot, too. It turns out car buyers don't want their EVs to look different from regular cars.
Link to Original Source

+ - Clang Plays Tetris - Tetris as a C++ Template Metaprogram->

mjvzb writes: Ever wish compiling was more fun? Well, I recently implemented Tetris as a C++ template metaprogram (Github). The game is played by recompiling its source, taking player input by compiler flag. The runtime program is only needed to print the game screen to the console and save the game state across compiler runs.

Implementing Tetris in templates is not as horrific as you may imagine, and I've put together a post covering the details. Once you get over the syntax, C++ metaprogramming is just like functional programming.

Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Most Odd Hardware Hack?

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter once asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them? Have you ever done something stupid and damaged your electronics?

+ - Square Enix Pulls, Apologizes For Mac Version of FFXIV

_xeno_ writes: Just over a week after Warner Bros. pulled the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight due to bugs, Square Enix is now being forced to do the same thing with the Mac OS X version of Final Fantasy XIV (which was released at the same time as Batman: Arkham Knight). The rather long note explaining the decision apologizes for releasing the port before it was ready and blames OS X and OpenGL for the performance discrepancy between the game's performance on identical Mac hardware running Windows. It's unclear when (or even if) Square Enix will resume selling an OS X version — the note indicates that the development team is hopeful that "[w]ith the adoption of DirectX11 for Mac, and the replacement of OpenGL with a new graphics API in Apple’s next OS, the fundamental gap in current performance issues may soon be eliminated." (I'm not sure what "the adoption of DirectX11 for Mac" refers to. OS X gaining DirectX 11 support is news to me — and, I suspect, Microsoft.) Given that the game supports the aging PS3 console, you'd think the developers would be able to find a way to get the same graphics as the PS3 version on more powerful Mac OS X hardware.

+ - This Is The Rare PlayStation Console Built By Sony And Nintendo

An anonymous reader writes: Long before Sony and Nintendo were rivals, the two companies were partners for a brief time. In 1998 the duo started work on SNES-CD, a video game media format that was supposed to augment the cartridge-based SNES by adding support for higher-capacity CDs. In 1991 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Sony introduced the “Play Station” (yes, with a space) but it never saw the light of day. Now, more than two decades later, Imgur user DanDiebold has uploaded images of the unreleased console. This particular model (about 200 Play Station prototypes were created) confirms that the system was supposed to be compatible with existing SNES titles as well as titles to be released in the SNES-CD format. In other words, it would have been the world's first hybrid console: game developers and gamers alike would be able to use both SNES cartridges and CDs. If you want to learn more about this particular prototype, check out the following thread on Assembler Games.

+ - Common medications sway moral judgment->

sciencehabit writes: How many times would you give your neighbor an electric shock to earn a few extra bucks? Your answer could be more malleable than you think. A new study finds that two common drugs—an antidepressant and a treatment for Parkinson’s disease—can influence moral decisions, a discovery that could help unravel specific mechanisms behind aggression and eventually help researchers design treatments for antisocial behavior.
Link to Original Source

+ - Russian Cargo Ship Successfully Makes Orbit, Will Supply ISS->

An anonymous reader writes: Early this morning, a Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The rocket carried a Progress capsule containing 2,700kg of supplies for the International Space Station. It's a much-needed victory after a series of launch failures that saw ISS resupply missions from Orbital ATK, Russia, and SpaceX end in failure. "The station, a joint project involving 15 nations which is staffed by a crew of six astronauts and cosmonauts, currently has a four-month supply of food and water, NASA said. The arrival of the Russian cargo ship, and the planned launch of a Japanese HTV freighter in August, should replenish the station's pantries through the end of the year, NASA said. Friday's successful launch clears the way for three new crew members to fly to the station later this month."
Link to Original Source

+ - Aussie ISP bakes in geo-dodging for Netflix, Hulu->

ste7en7 writes: A new Australian ISP is integrating geo-blocking circumvention into its broadband service, allowing customers to access streaming services like Hulu, Netflix USA, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. When Yournet launches in August, customers will be able to sign up for broadband that allows users to instantly change the country they are supposedly surfing from.
Link to Original Source

+ - AMAgeddon: Reddit mods are locking up the site's most popular pages In protest->

vivaoporto writes: As reported by The Independent, CNET, The Register, TechCrunch, The Verge and PC World moderators are locking up the site's most popular pages in protest against the dismissal of Victoria Taylor, a key member of the site's behind-the-scenes team.

Taylor, who was the main facilitator for the site's question-and-answer community 'Ask Me Anything' (graced by the presence of notables like Barack Obama, Jerry Seinfeld and regular folks like a line cook at Applebee's) was fired yesterday, causing all sorts of problems for Reddit's most mainstream offering.

Taylor's reported departure, which has been dubbed AMAgeddon, led other moderators of the marquee IAmA subreddit to switch the page's settings to private, rendering the Reddit userbase unable to view the page.

Since then, dozens of other subreddits including /r/askreddit, /r/videos, /r/gaming and /r/gadets — each with several million subscribers — have also been made private, instead re-directing readers to a static landing page.

Reddit’s cofounder and executive chairman Alexis Ohanian said in a post that “we don’t talk about specific employees. (...) We get that losing Victoria has a significant impact on the way you manage your community, (...) I’d really like to understand how we can help solve these problems, because I know r/IAMA thrived before her and will thrive after."

A full recap of the situation is available at the site itself, with the insight by the site's own members about the whole situation.

This comes in the wake of other highly controversial past events like the response to what became known as The Fappening, and the more recent ban of the controversial but populat FatPeopleHate subreddit.

Link to Original Source

+ - Call Centre raided after DoS to UK phone network operators

product_bucket writes: The UK's Information Commissioner has (with help from Ofcom) raided [ico.org.uk] offices of a currently anonymous Manchester call centre after network operators complained of disruptions to their networks. Whilst making unsolicited marketing calls of any type has been illegal for some time, The action was only justified after approximately 7,000 reports of complaints were traced back to the call centre operator.

Nuisance calls in the the UK are once again on the rise [ico.org.uk] after government agencies have been at odds over who is responsible for what type of call is being made. With no less than three different organisations tasked with dealing with five [ico.org.uk] different forms of telemarketing, unscrupulous companies are making the most of this risky business opportunity.

+ - Pew Survey Documents Gaps Between Public and Scientists

PvtVoid writes: A new Pew Research Study documents an alarming gap between public perception of scientific issues and the opinions of the scientists themselves, as measured by a poll of AAAS scientists. Even worse, the gap is partisan, with clear differences between Republicans and Democrats, and between conservatives and liberals. For example, while 98% of AAAS members agree with the statement that "Human beings and other living things have evolved over time", only 21% of conservatives agree, compared with 54% of liberals. Global warming, similarly, shows an ideological gap: 98% of AAAS scientists agreed with the statement that "the Earth is getting warmer mostly due to human activity", compared with 21% of conservatives and 54% of liberals. Encouragingly, almost everybody thinks childhood vaccines should be required (86% of AAAS members, 65% of conservatives, and 74% of liberals.)

Go here for an interactive view of the data.

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