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Comment Re:techie thoughts on Alaska (Score 1) 284

it's also cyclical based on I think a 5 year average of the price of oil - that means it's going to start going down next year as gas starts to plummet

It's based on the fund income, which doesn't necessarily correlate to oil prices. The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation manages a *widely* diversified portfolio. An oil income deposited into the fund becomes a part of the principal and may contribute to the income.

Comment Re:Not free money (Score 1) 284

The permanent fund is ultimately a rainy day fund. The distribution of the dividend from the permanent fund can be redirected into the state budget when it's needed. It's difficult to do politically, though.

Recognizing, I suppose, that the Permanent Fund dividend will be difficult to touch, there's a Statutory Budget Reserve (~1.7B, easy to draw from) and a Constitutional Budget Reserve (~$10.1B, harder to draw from). There are also a bunch of smaller savings accounts that do things like offset the high cost of electricity in the villages. All told, Alaska has about $70B in savings, and about $20B of that can be used directly for the budget. That $20B can fund the government at it's current budget for about 4 years without any of the permanent fund earnings.

Comment Re:Good luck enforcing that, FCC (Score 2) 242

At worst, hardware manufacturers will make the WiFi portion of the device untouchable from the rest of the firmware, or perhaps requiring signed binary firmware for the WiFi transmitter.

It would be a nice compromise position, but the one of the FCC Documents, in describing the reporting requirements, specifically asks how the device prevents loading "third-party firmware, such as DD-WRT."

Comment Re:they don't ban installation of open source (Score 3, Insightful) 242

I don't think that this does what you think it does. The FCC, in an advisory document, specifically mentions the DD-WRT OS. From Software Security Requirements for U-NII Devices:

What prevents third parties from loading non-US versions of the software/firmware on the device? Describe in detail how the device is protected from “flashing” and the installation of third-party firmware such as DD-WRT.

The FCC is trying, with this rule, to prevent any modification to future devices. From the same document:

An applicant must describe the overall security measures and systems that ensure that:

  • 1. only properly authenticated software is loaded and operating the device; and
  • 2. the device is not easily modified to operate with RF parameters outside of the authorization.

The description of the software must address the following questions in the operational description for the device and clearly demonstrate how the device meets the security requirement.

The same document also suggests that there be strong security between the regulated device and the manufacturer's website to verify installed software. How does this not eliminate the use of Tomato or OpenWRT? If you expect to use one of the alternate firmware on future devices, this proposed rule will absolutely affect your ability to do so.

Comment Re:diluting the market (Score 1) 249

I've a '97 Chevy 3/4 ton that has been rock solid. It's needed two fuel pumps, a water pump, a clutch, axle seals and the blower motor switch over a life (so far) of 240,000 miles. It needs a little work right now, but not more than about $400 in parts. I *want* to replace it with something newer, but I just can't bring myself to replace something that's been so reliable. Also: only light surface rust on the frame with none on the body.

Comment Re:Russia's longer hours... (Score 2) 381

Child labor laws were not brought about singularly by unions:

Child labor began to decline as the labor and reform movements grew and labor standards in general began improving, increasing the political power of working people and other social reformers to demand legislation regulating child labor. Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined. . .

. . .and that's a generous assessment of union involvement with child labor laws in the US. Child labor had been on the decline, but the National Consumer League had been lobbying the US congress for some time, and finally made progress when sentiment changed largely due to the scarcity of jobs.

This success arose not only from popular hostility to child labor, generated in no small measure by the long-term work of the child labor committees and the climate of reform in the New Deal period, but also from the desire of Americans in a period of high unemployment to open jobs held by children to adults.

This is not to say that unions weren't important, but they were as much a part of a larger social movement as they were a cause.

Submission Sourceforge staff takes over a user's account and wraps their software installer-> 11

An anonymous reader writes: Sourceforge staff took over the account of the GIMP-for-Windows maintainer claiming it was abandoned and used this opportunity to wrap the installer in crapware. Quoting Ars:

SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:What about a bus? (Score 1) 280

The paper I linked to is from 2002. The Washington Post article cited by the original submission reports that this newer research concludes that on average air travel uses 2,033 BTU/(passenger-mile), considerably better than the 1998 data in the TRB paper. (The WP article also reports average energy use of 4,211 BTU/(passenger-mile) average for travel in personal vehicles.)

nohup rm -fr /&