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+ - Cosmos: The Climate Change Episode

Submitted by capsfan100
capsfan100 (2703401) writes "Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, with his new hit series Cosmos, has awakened in many of us our love of science.
Tonight, he finally tackled climate change head on after alluding to it many times previously. As with every episode, he and Seth MacFarlane wove amazing computer graphics, detailed scientific evidence and animated historical story telling into an easy to comprehend documentary.
They demonstrated why human caused global warming is "a pretty tight case," and beautifully explained the adverse affects of carbon pollution from human activities like burning coal and oil, at one point "visualizing" the CO2 in a typical city.
Using a fascinating array of video to explain the scientific understanding of climate change and other natural mechanics like positive feedback loops, we're warned our kids are in for "a rough ride."
I don't want to spoil the end, but let's just say they remain optimistic, pointing out its not an impossible predicament — we know what the solutions are, we just need the political will and courage to do what needs to be done.
Did tonight's episode inspire you enough to share it with others? To take any other action? If you missed it live tonight, it will be on Hulu tomorrow."

+ - Curved TVs Nothing But A Gimmick->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Currently, the hottest trend from TV manufacturers is to offer curved panels, but analysts say it's nothing more than a ploy to pander to consumers who want the latest, coolest-looking tech in their home. In the end, the TVs don't offer better picture quality. In fact, they offer a degraded view to anyone sitting off center. Samsung and LG claim that the curve provides a cinema-like experience by offering a more balanced and uniform view so that the edges of the set don't appear further away than the middle. Paul Gray, director of European TV Research for DisplaySearch, said those claims are nothing by pseudo-science. "Curved screens are a gimmick, much along the same lines as 3D TVs are," said Paul O'Donovan, Gartner's principal analyst for consumer electronics research."
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+ - NSA "Knows the way you think"->

Submitted by mspohr
mspohr (589790) writes "“As you write a message, you know, an analyst at the NSA or any other service out there that’s using this kind of attack against people can actually see you write sentences and then backspace over your mistakes and then change the words and then kind of pause and — and — and think about what you wanted to say and then change it. And it’s this extraordinary intrusion not just into your communications, your finished messages but your actual drafting process, into the way you think.”

More information here:
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature..."

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+ - Why David Deutsch's New Theory of Reality is Deeper Than Quantum Mechanics

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "In 1948, the Bell Labs mathematician and engineer Claude Shannon published The Mathematical Theory of Communication (pdf). In it, he laid out the basic process of communication and formally introduced ideas such as information, the role of transmitters and receivers as well as the idea of a channel and its capacity to carry information. This theory now forms the basis of all digital communication so it's no exaggeration to say that it has been hugely influential. By contrast, no equivalent theory exists for quantum information, despite decades of work by quantum theorists. That could all change now thanks to the work of David Deutsch, a theoretical physicist, who has developed a theory that links classical and quantum information using a deeper theoretical framework. Deutsch's new approach is called constructor theory and it turns the conventional approach to physics on its head. Physicists currently ply their trade by explaining the world in terms of initial conditions and laws of motion. This leads to a distinction between what happens and what does not happen. By contrast, Deutsch’s new fundamental principle is that all laws of physics are expressible entirely in terms of the physical transformations that are possible and those that are impossible. In other words, the laws of physics do not tell you what is possible and impossible, they are the result of what is possible and impossible. So reasoning about the physical transformations that are possible and impossible leads to the laws of physics. He uses this approach to develop a number of principles that all physical laws must follow, both those that are known and those that are unknown. Consequently, constructor theory must be deeper than all known physical theories such as quantum mechanics and relativity. He draws an analogy between this and conservation laws which are deeper than all other physical laws which must follow them. It's too early to say what impact Deutsch's new approach will have. But he has a spectacular record in physics having been a pioneer of quantum computation in the 1980s and one of the chief exponents of the multiverse, both of which have become mainstream ideas."

+ - Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

Submitted by PvtVoid
PvtVoid (1252388) writes "Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu pens a heartfelt takedown of misogyny in nerd culture:

What the fuck is wrong with us?

How much longer are we going to be in denial that there’s a thing called “rape culture” and we ought to do something about it?

[...]

To paraphrase the great John Oliver, listen up, fellow self-pitying nerd boys—we are not the victims here. We are not the underdogs. We are not the ones who have our ownership over our bodies and our emotions stepped on constantly by other people’s entitlement. We’re not the ones where one out of six of us will have someone violently attempt to take control of our bodies in our lifetimes.

"

+ - Facebook Wants To Listen In On What You're Doing-> 2

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Facebook is rolling out a new feature for its smartphone app that can turn on users’ microphones and listen to what’s happening around them to identify songs playing or television being watched. The pay-off for users in allowing Facebook to eavesdrop is that the social giant will be able to add a little tag to their status update that says they’re watching an episode of Games of Thrones as they sound off on their happiness (or despair) about the rise in background sex on TV these days.

The feature is an optional one, something the company emphasizes in its announcement. The tech giant does seem well-aware that in these days of Snowden surveillance revelations, people might not be too keen for Facebook to take control of their smartphone’s mic and start listening in on them by default. It’s only rolling out the feature in the U.S. and a product PR person emphasized repeatedly that no recording is being stored, only “code.” “We’re not recording audio or sound and sending it to Facebook or its servers,” says Facebook spokesperson Momo Zhou. “We turn the audio it hears into a code — code that is not reversible into audio — and then we match it against a database of code.”"

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+ - Do You Foresake The Cloud For The Fog?->

Submitted by capsfan100
capsfan100 (2703401) writes "Today's WSJ has an interesting read about "fog computing." Yes, it's just a marketing term for existing technology. But you don't need an expensive (albiet well-marketed) router to achieve the goal of storing your data in a central location where you can easily access it without the security concern — and perhaps download latency issues — of the traditional client-server — I mean cloud — environment.
Were you one of the many who built a system like this before the term "fog" even surfaced? Any thoughts or tips for those of us who might DIY a home fog computing environment?"

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+ - Beware Fake Kaspersky Antivirus Apps->

Submitted by WubbaDucki
WubbaDucki (548885) writes "Kaspersky Lab, a Russia-based firm and one of the world's most renowned PC security companies, is warning all consumers to carefully research any antivirus application before downloading it to their computers or mobile devices. Kaspersky Lab says it recently discovered several fake antivirus apps on Google Play and the Windows Phone app stores."
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+ - How Rising Seas Could Sink Nuclear Plants On The East Coast->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes ""During the 1970s and 1980s, when many nuclear reactors were first built, most operators estimated that seas would rise at a slow, constant rate. That is, if the oceans rose a fraction of an inch one year, they could be expected to rise by the same amount the next year and every year in the future.

But the seas are now rising much faster than they did in the past, largely due to climate change, which accelerates thermal expansion and melts glaciers and ice caps. Sea levels rose an average of 8 inches between 1880 and 2009, or about 0.06 inches per year. But in the last 20 years, sea levels have risen an average of 0.13 inches per year — about twice as fast.

And it's only getting worse. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has laid out four different projections for estimated sea level rise by 2100. Even the agency's best-case scenario assumes that sea levels will rise at least 8.4 inches by the end of this century. NOAA's worst-case scenario, meanwhile, predicts that the oceans will rise nearly 7 feet in the next 86 years.

But most nuclear power facilities were built well before scientists understood just how high sea levels might rise in the future. And for power plants, the most serious threat is likely to come from surges during storms. Higher sea levels mean that flooding will travel farther inland, creating potential hazards in areas that may have previously been considered safe. During Superstorm Sandy, for example, flooding threatened the water intake systems at the Oyster Creek and Salem nuclear power plants in New Jersey. As a safety precaution, both plants were powered down. But even when a plant is not operating, the spent fuel stored on-site, typically uranium, will continue to emit heat and must be cooled using equipment that relies on the plant's own power. Flooding can cause a loss of power, and in serious conditions it can damage backup generators. Without a cooling system, reactors can overheat and damage the facility to the point of releasing radioactive material.""

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+ - Mysterious S-shape appears on weather radar

Submitted by criten
criten (986175) writes "On Wednesday the Bureau of Meteorology's doppler radar at Perth, Western Australia detected an unusual S-shape near Rottness Island. Comparison with satellite imagery showed the echo was not related to any cloud formation. A spokesman for the Department of Defence said in a statement on Thursday that the exercise was a regular training activity involving ships and aircraft designed to prepare a Navy warship for an operational deployment. But what kind of military activity could generate this radar return?"

+ - Why Drone Package Delivery Will Be A Nightmare For Law Enforcement-> 1

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Law enforcement may already be gritting its teeth over the idea of legal drone delivery. Being able to send things by drone could be hugely disruptive to the existing mail system: a peer-to-peer postal service that cuts out the USPS and FedEx. That’s fine when Amazon is shipping out books, but what about the kind of deliveries that law enforcement wants to be able to track? The existing postal system is full of surveillance.

If drones took off (heh) as a private way to send packages and letters over short or long distances, law enforcement would lose an important crime-fighting tool: their surveillance of the mail system. Much like electronic communication has gone “dark” thanks to encryption tools, the postal system could go “dark” thanks to private robot postmen.

This may sound far-fetched, but private, illicit drone deliveries are already happening. Last month, three men and a woman were caught smuggling tobacco into a Georgia prison. They used an Octocopter to do it. Unfortunately for them, their drone wasn’t an autonomous one and they had to crouch in the woods near the prison yard and watch the flight of their copter with binoculars. If it had been an autonomous drone, they may well have gotten away with the crime, and the smugglers wouldn’t be facing up to 20 years in their drone delivery zone for crossing prison guard lines with contraband."

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+ - How to Burst the "Filter Bubble" that Protects Us from Opposing Views->

Submitted by Jah-Wren Ryel
Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) writes "Computer scientists have discovered a way to number-crunch an individual’s own preferences to recommend content from others with opposing views. The goal? To burst the “filter bubble” that surrounds us with people we like and content that we agree with.

A recent example of the filter bubble at work: Two people who googled the term “BP.” One received links to investment news about BP while the other received links to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, presumably as a result of some recommendation algorithm."

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+ - Amazon reveals "Prime Air", their plans for 30-minute deliveries by drone->

Submitted by Z80xxc!
Z80xxc! (1111479) writes "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed during a CBS 60 Minutes interview that the company is working on a service called "Prime Air" to deliver packages by autonomous octocopter drones within 30 minutes of hitting the "buy" button. The plan still requires more testing and FAA approval, but Bezos predicts it'll be available to the public in the next 4-5 years. With a lot of backlash against drones, and some towns even offering bounties to shoot them down, will this technology ever take off, or is this just another one of Amazon's eccentric CEO's fantastical flight ideas ?"
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Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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