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Submission + - Texas narrowly rejects allowing academics to fact-check public school textbooks (

jriding writes: AUSTIN, Texas â" Top Texas education officials rejected Wednesday letting university experts fact-check textbooks approved for use in public-school classrooms statewide, instead reaffirming a vetting system that has helped spark years of ideological battles over how potentially thorny lessons in history and science are taught.

Submission + - Morocco Plans Solar Power Mega-Project (

An anonymous reader writes: Morocco, located along the north African coast, is in prime position to take advantage of solar technology, and they've committed to one of the biggest such projects in the world. The city of Ouarzazate will host "a complex of four linked solar mega-plants that, alongside hydro and wind, will help provide nearly half of Morocco’s electricity from renewables by 2020." It will be the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. "The mirror technology it uses is less widespread and more expensive than the photovoltaic panels that are now familiar on roofs the world over, but it will have the advantage of being able to continue producing power even after the sun goes down." The first phase of the project, called Noor 1, comprises 500,000 solar mirrors that track the sun throughout the day, with a maximum capacity of 160MW. When the full project finishes, it will be able to generate up to 580MW. "Each parabolic mirror is 12 metres high and focussed on a steel pipeline carrying a 'heat transfer solution' (HTF) that is warmed to 393C as it snakes along the trough before coiling into a heat engine. There, it is mixed with water to create steam that turns energy-generating turbines."

Submission + - NASA Picks Winners for 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Design Contest (

schwit1 writes: NASA has picked the three winners in a design contest for 3D-printed habitats that could help future astronauts live on Mars.

The $25,000 first prize in NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition went to Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office for the "Mars Ice House" design, which looks like a translucent, smooth-edged pyramid.

The design contest is the first milestone in NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, an effort to encourage the development of technologies that could enable dwellings to be built using 3D printers and locally available resources on Mars and other locales away from Earth.

Submission + - Dell Brings 4K InfinityEdge Display To XPS 15 Line, GeForce GPU, Under 4 Pounds (

MojoKid writes: There's no doubt that Dell's new XPS 13 notebook when it debuted earlier this year, was very well received. Dell managed to cram a 13.3-inch 3200x1800 QHD+ display into a 12-inch carbon fiber composite frame. Dell has now brought that same InfinityEdge display technology to its larger XPS 15, which the company boasts has the same footprint as a 14-inch notebook. But Dell didn't just stay the course with the QHD+ resolution from the smaller XPS 13; the company instead is offering an optional UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD panel with 8 million pixels and 282 pixels per inch (PPI). The 350-nit display allows for 170-degree viewing angles and has 100 percent minimum Adobe RGB color. Dell also beefed up the XPS 15's internals, giving it sixth generation Intel Core processors (Skylake), support for up to 16GB of memory and storage options that top out with a 1TB SSD. Graphics duties are handled by either integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 or a powerful GeForce GTX 960M processor that is paired with 2GB GDDR5 memory. And all of this squeaks in at under 4 pounds.

Submission + - 22 Years Later an Update Arrives! (

An anonymous reader writes: After 22 year, the Apple IIGS finally gets an update to its operating system GS/OS. Apparently, leaked source code allowed the community to give a beloved retro machine a badly needed upgrade. Who needs Windows 10? We got GS/OS 6.0.2. Long live the Apple IIGS!

Submission + - 'Lax' Crossdomain Policy Puts Yahoo Mail At Risk (

msm1267 writes: A researcher disclosed a problem with a loose cross-domain policy for Flash requests on Yahoo Mail that put email message content, contact information and much more at risk. The researcher said the weakness is relatively simple to exploit and puts users at high risk for data loss, identity theft, and more.

Yahoo has patched one issue related to a specific .swf file hosted on Yahoo’s content delivery network that contained a vulnerability that could give an attacker complete control over Yahoo Mail accounts cross origin. While the patch fixed this specific issue, the larger overall configuration issue remains, meaning that other vulnerable .swf files hosted outside the Yahoo CDN and on another Yahoo subdomain could be manipulated the same way.

Submission + - Congress grants US authorities unlimited access to every person's communications ( 1

schwit1 writes: The legislation was passed yesterday 325-100 via a voice vote, a green light for what Congressman Justin Amash describes as “one of the most egregious sections of law I’ve encountered during my time as a representative”.

The bill allows the private communications of Americans to be scooped up without a court order and then transferred to law enforcement for criminal investigations.

The legislation effectively codifies and legalizes mass warrantless NSA surveillance on the American people, with barely a whimper of debate.

Submission + - U.S. Passenger Vehicle Fleet Dirtier After 2008 Recession (

MTorrice writes: The 2008 recession hammered the U.S. auto industry, driving down sales of 2009 models to levels 35% lower than those before the economic slump. A new study has found that because sales of new vehicles slowed, the average age of the U.S. fleet climbed more than expected, increasing the rate of air pollutants released by the fleet.

In 2013, the researchers studied the emissions of more than 68,000 vehicles on the roads in three cities—Los Angeles, Denver, and Tulsa. They calculated the amount of pollution released per kilogram of fuel burned for the 2013 fleet and compared the rates to those that would have occurred if the 2013 fleet had the same age distribution as the prerecession fleet. For the three cities, carbon monoxide emissions were greater by 17 to 29%, hydrocarbons by 9 to 14%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 27 to 30%, and ammonia by 7 to 16%.


Submission + - compromized ( 2

JoeF writes: There is a note posted on the main page, that has been compromised earlier this month:
"Earlier this month, a number of servers in the infrastructure were compromised. We discovered this August 28th. While we currently believe that the source code repositories were unaffected, we are in the process of verifying this and taking steps to enhance security across the infrastructure."

The note goes on to say that it is unlikely to have affected the source code repositories, due to the nature of git.


Submission + - Researchers Create Rain By Firing Lasers at Sky (

formaggio writes: Last year a team of researchers at Switzerland’s University of Geneva had come up with an interesting way of making it rain– by shooting lasers high up into the sky. At the time it seemed like science fiction, but now it is science fact after the team successfully finished tests around Lake Geneva.

Submission + - Firefox Has 6000 Bugs, Community Leader Leaves (

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla does not discuss product problems behind closed doors and employees or key contributors rarely sugarcoat their opinions. A blog post published by Community Lead Tyler Downer rocks Mozilla as he claims that Mozilla Triage QA process is broken and he believes that the current rapid release process drowns Firefox in a sea of bugs with no land in sight.

Submission + - Norway killings, cyber security, privacy (

HoneyPablo writes: "Commentary from some sections of the IT community on the recent killings in Norway reminds us national security is still haunted by two visions:

1) With enough data it will be possible to comprehensively identify would-be terrorists or other offenders to prevent their destruction of lives and property.

2) Privacy law, in its current form, is fundamentally impeding, if not preventing, action by officials to save lives and prosecute criminals."


Senators Want Secret Warrantless Wiretap Renewal 198

An anonymous reader writes "A group of Senators are meeting in secret today, while most people are focused on the 'debt ceiling' issue, in order to try to rush through a renewal of the FISA Amendments Act, which expressly allowed warrantless wiretapping in the U.S. The law isn't set to expire until next year, but some feel that the debt ceiling crisis is a good distraction to pass the extension without having to debate the issue in public. The meeting is being held in secret, but it's not classified, so people can demand to know how their Senator voted."

Submission + - MIT Unveils Sun-Free Photovoltaics (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at MIT just unveiled a new solar power generator that doesn't need sunlight to function. The button-sized power generator can tap energy from heat, the sun’s rays, a hydrocarbon fuel, or a decaying radioisotope, and it can run three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight. It is hoped that the technology may one day be used to generate power for spacecraft on long-term missions where sunlight may not be available.

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas