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+ - US Navy sonar causing whale deaths->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "US Navy's sonar is so loud that it is causing whales' brain to hemorrhage and blood vessels bursting, and when that happened, whales go up to the shallow waters and sometimes ended up beaching themselves.That happened in the Bahamas, back in March, 2000

On the morning of March 15, 2000, 17 beaked whales stranded themselves on beaches in the northern Bahamas. It was an terrible and extraordinary event: Beaked whales are the world’s deepest-diving mammals, and these creatures had spent most of their lives in deep undersea canyons. For even one to show up in shallow water would be extremely unusual, for 17 to strand was almost inconceivable

It just so happened that just a few feet away from one of the beaches lived Ken Balcomb, a beaked whale researcher who more than anyone in the world was equipped to find out what happened. Long before Mr. Balcomb started studying whales he had served two tours of duty in the Navy, where he’d done classified work with submarine-detecting sonar. He knew just how loud it could be, and in days following the stranding he photographed Navy destroyers in Bahamian waters

Mr. Balcomb had several of the dead whales’ heads sent for autopsies—and when they returned evidence of hemorrhages, he knew what happened. The whales had fled to shallow water to escape noise so concussively loud it burst blood vessels in their brains.

“I believe the Navy did it,” Balcomb soon announced at a press conference. With that began an epic legal and scientific battle to make the Navy admit what happened, and then to do something about it. Against all odds, it’s a battle in which Balcomb and environmentalists have been largely successful, winning commitments from the Navy to research sonar’s effects on whales and to consider them when planning training exercises"

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+ - Alternative Theories on deadly Washington state landslide->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "/. has carried a piece on the deadly Washington State landslide — http://science.slashdot.org/st... — but now alternative theories on the same landslide have surfaces

The new account from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) differs from the explanation offered by the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, which on Tuesday unveiled the first published analysis of the 22 March slide. The accident killed 43 in the little town of Oso at the edge of Washington’s Cascade Mountains

The difference revolves around a critical question:

What caused a hillside with a history of relatively minor landslides to suddenly turn into a tsunami of mud and debris that sped about a kilometer across a valley?

The findings could influence what signs scientists look for when trying to detect other potentially explosive slides"
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+ - Earth in the midst of sixth mass extinction - the "anthropocene defaunation"->

Submitted by mspohr
mspohr (589790) writes "A special issue of Science magazine devoted to Vanishing Fauna publishes a series of articles about the man-caused extinction of species and the implications for ecosystems and the climate.
"During the Pleistocene epoch, only tens of thousands of years ago, our planet supported large, spectacular animals. Mammoths, terror birds, giant tortoises, and saber-toothed cats, as well as many less familiar species such as giant ground sloths (some of which reached 7 meters in height) and glyptodonts (which resembled car-sized armadillos), roamed freely. Since then, however, the number and diversity of animal species on Earth have consistently and steadily declined. Today we are left with a relatively depauperate fauna, and we continue to lose animal species to extinction rapidly. Although some debate persists, most of the evidence suggests that humans were responsible for extinction of this Pleistocene fauna, and we continue to drive animal extinctions today through the destruction of wild lands, consumption of animals as a resource or a luxury, and persecution of species we see as threats or competitors. "
Unfortunately, most of the detail is behind a paywall but the summary should be enough for Slashdot readers."

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+ - Two Cities Ask the FCC to Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet 2

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "Two cities—Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina—have officially asked the federal government to help them bypass state laws banning them from expanding their community owned, gigabit fiber internet connections.
In states throughout the country, major cable and telecom companies have battled attempts to create community broadband networks, which they claim put them at a competitive disadvantage. The FCC will decide if its able to circumvent state laws that have been put in place restricting the practice."

+ - Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Golfing and cars, not much in common there. But that's about to change thanks to a new technology from a research lab at MIT called Smorphs. The idea is simple: put a set of dynamic dimples on the exterior of a car to improve its surface aerodynamics and make it slipperier, and therefore faster. Pedro Reis is the mechanical engineering and research spearheading this project. A while ago Mythbusters proved the validity of the dimpled car form in a much more low-tech way. The concept uses a hollow core surrounded by a thick, deformable layer, and a smoother outer skin. When vacuum is applied, the outer layers suck in to form the dimples. The technology is only in its very earliest stages, but we could see this applied to future vehicles in an effort to make them faster and more fuel efficient."

+ - Lawrence Krauss: Congress is trying to defund scientists at Energy Department->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Physicist Lawrence Krauss blasts Congress for their passage of the 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that cut funding for renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency, and even worse, had amendments that targeted scientists at the Department of Energy: He writes that this action from the US Congress is worse even than the Australian government's move to cancel their carbon tax, because the action of Congress is far more insidious: 'Each (amendment) would, in its own way, specifically prohibit scientists at the Energy Department from doing precisely what Congress should mandate them to do—namely perform the best possible scientific research to illuminate, for policymakers, the likelihood and possible consequences of climate change' Although the bill isn't likely to become law, Krauss is fed up with Congress burying its head in the sand: The fact that those amendments '...could pass a house of Congress, should concern everyone interested in the appropriate support of scientific research as a basis for sound public policy.' Amen"
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Comment: Not everyone is train-able (Score 5, Insightful) 126

by Taco Cowboy (#47520825) Attached to: The Psychology of Phishing

How are spammers successful so often? Simple, companies don't train people

As one who has thousands of people working in companies that I either own, co-own, or have invested in, I can tell you that not everyone is trainable

Not that people are stupid - no, as far as I am concern, almost all who are working in the companies I mentioned above are above average in intelligence - but the one thing that is needed the most is not information, rather, it's intuition with a large bit of paranoia mixed in

It takes a paranoid to be suspicious of everything - and in this social-media world that we have today, where everybody shares every bit of their own info to the world - paranoia is becoming a scarce resource

No matter how much info we have shared with our colleagues, no matter how many times we have told them to be ultra careful, you bet someone will get phished, almost in a daily basis, and the local level network will get breached

Comment: How does the current POTUS fair ... (Score 5, Interesting) 241

by Taco Cowboy (#47519443) Attached to: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

These days, you don't even have to be a dirty commie, or Chinese, or both, to be Anti-American; the Commander-in-Chief hisself is one

I can't help but wonder if Obama's own dossier is to go through the same expanded terrorist watchlist system would Obama be labeled as one of the terrorists?

Especially when neither "concrete facts" nor "irrefutable evidence" is required

Comment: Appre (Score 5, Insightful) 223

by Taco Cowboy (#47519333) Attached to: VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

Our best employees are the ones that have not been through the debt claiming process of getting a degree

Biden is insisting that the H-1B program must go on because it provides a sort of "apprenticeships" to foreigners

Well, I was from China, but am an American and I can speak with the view of a foreigner (the one from China) and that of an American and I can tell you that if America does not stop giving "apprenticeships" to foreigners one day there will be no more jobs for Americans

The old way of giving "apprenticeships" for "foreigners" was the way I got mine - When I landed on the soil of the USA I was a young refugee without a full secondary school education

I had my "apprenticeships" inside America because I had no place to go and after I graduated from college (with no debt, since I worked 3 jobs on the side - sometimes more than 3 jobs - while studying) I worked at American technology companies where I got further training.

After that I started my own companies, sold some of them, and re-invested what I got into other startup and made even more

In other words, while America provided "apprenticeships" for me this former "apprentice" stayed put in America and started businesses in America and created many job opportunities for other Americans

On the other hand, the way H-1B visa program works is that it provides "apprenticeships" for foreigners, and they got back to their own country, taking their skills with them, start up their own businesses in their own countries, create job opportunities for their own people, not Americans

Who loses in this game ?

The Americans

Who win ? The foreigners

Folks, especially you Americans out there --- please top the politicians, no matter from which political party they came from, from destroying America from the inside out

What Biden is doing is to cut out the innards of America and give it to the foreigners

Comment: Watching the hourglass (Score 1) 64

by Taco Cowboy (#47513899) Attached to: Oso Disaster Had Its Roots In Earlier Landslides

When I was little toddler I was fascinated by an hourglass --- particularly on the almost hidden but still perceivable pattern of a new slide happened on the back of an ancient slide

Many things that we observe, even from something as tiny as the sandslides inside an hourglass, can be magnified many folds, and still hold true

Comment: TOR is actually sponsored by Uncle Sam (Score 4, Interesting) 51

Many of you thinks that TOR is a godsend, that TOR provides you with absolute privacy

But you guys must understand that TOR itself is actually from a project sponsored by Uncle Sam - and its initial usage was to thaw the cyber iron-curtains (something like the Great Firewall of China)

I do use TOR, but I do reckon that there might be a certain "permissible flaw" in it since it is, after all, an Uncle Sam project

Call me a paranoid if you want, but I will never trust Uncle Sam 100%, neither will I trust TOR 100%

+ - Linux based OS for Smart Router and Smart Home Appliances->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "A maker of wifi router from China, HiWiFi, has opened up its Smart-Router OS, HiWiFi-OS, based on Linux, to developers and makers of smart devices, including routers, home appliances and other devices that fall into the internet of things category, to enable the developers and maker to build applications for the platform and adopting a WiFi solution for the smart devices which might resulted in a further evolution of a new internet of things ecology

The operating system supports routers using MediaTek-based chips"

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+ - "Canvas Fingerprinting" Online Tracking Difficult To Block->

Submitted by globaljustin
globaljustin (574257) writes "First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it.

[The] fingerprints are unusually hard to block: They can’t be prevented by using standard Web browser privacy settings or using anti-tracking tools such as AdBlock Plus.

The researchers found canvas fingerprinting computer code, primarily written by a company called AddThis, on 5 percent of the top 100,000 websites."

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