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+ - Deploying Solar in California's Urban Areas Could Meet Demand Five Times Over->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "About 8% of terrestrial surfaces in California have been developed, ranging from cities and buildings to park spaces. If photovoltaic panels, along with concentrating solar power, were more effectively deployed in and around those areas, it could meet between three and five times what California currently uses for electricity, according to a new study. The study from the Carnegie Institution for Science, found that using small- and utility-scale solar power in and around developed areas could generate up to 15,000 terawatt-hours (trillion watt hours) of energy a year using photovoltaic technology, and 6,000TWh of energy a year using concentrating solar power technology. "Integrating solar facilities into the urban and suburban environment causes the least amount of land-cover change and the lowest environmental impact," post-doctoral environmental earth scientist Rebecca Hernandez said."
Link to Original Source

+ - FBI's Big Plan To Expand Its Hacking Powers

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "DefenseOne reports:

the rule change, as requested by the department, would allow judges to grant warrants for remote searches of computers located outside their district or when the location is unknown.

The government has defended the maneuver as a necessary update of protocol intended to modernize criminal procedure to address the increasingly complex digital realities of the 21st century. The FBI wants the expanded authority, which would allow it to more easily infiltrate computer networks to install malicious tracking software. This way, investigators can better monitor suspected criminals who use technology to conceal their identity.

But the plan has been widely opposed by privacy advocates, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as some technologists, who say it amounts to a substantial rewriting of the rule and not just a procedural tweak. Such a change could threaten the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizures, they warn, and possibly allow the FBI to violate the sovereignty of foreign nations. The rule change also could let the agency simultaneously target millions of computers at once, even potentially those belonging to users who aren’t suspected of any wrongdoing.


+ - Politics Poisoning NASA's Ability To Meet Its Goals-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Phil Plait just published an article showing how politics is interfering with NASA's ability to perform vital scientific experiments. As expected when we heard that Ted Cruz would be made head of the committee in charge of NASA's funding, the Texas senator is pushing hard for NASA to stop studying Earth itself. Plait writes, "Over the years, NASA has had to beg and scrape to get the relatively small amount of money it gets—less than half a percent of the national budget—and still manages to do great things with it. Cruz is worried NASA’s focus needs to be more on space exploration. Fine. Then give them enough money to do everything in their charter: Explore space, send humans there, and study our planet. Whether you think climate change is real or not—and it is— telling NASA they should turn a blind eye to the environment of our own planet is insanity." He concludes, "[T]he politics of funding a government agency is tying NASA in knots and critically endangering its ability to explore.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: Do ITIL hates skilled people? 15

Submitted by ulzeraj
ulzeraj (1009869) writes "First of all I would like to apologize about the language. I’m not a native english speaker.

I've been working with Linux and in a lower extent Windows setups for 10 years now. During most time of my career I've been involved with IT consulting firms. Last year I've joined a retail store company that was in dire need of someone with good debugging skills. Their team is awfully unskilled and during the course of the year I was able to improve a lot of their network and server systems including automation, backups and restore strategies, complicated image deployment strategies and so on. I've also worked in improving the performance of their database and ERP systems and solved every fucking problem they’ve thrown at my direction including some they didn’t really knew they existed. The company office was a great bazaar and overall fun to work and comfortable to boot because their needs were always simple for someone with my skills so in the end I would always blow their minds with the results. I should note that I never have problem with knowledge sharing and documentation.

But recently the managers were replaced and the new guys don't seem to like me. They are pushing for ITIL doctrine on the IT department (and the whole company afterwards). For starters they keep pushing me administrative tasks that I'm not really fond of like keeping in touch with our suppliers and managing project dependencies so I’ve been spending more time attending meetings and mailing people than typing on a terminal. I've heard somewhere that the cult of ITIL somewhat hates the "hero culture" and people like me are not really healthy for their dogmas and I’m considered a “risk". I feel that even as I have so much that I can do for the company I'll probably be cockblocked by their new "project management" department and whatnot.

As this is happening it seems that people on the IT consulting firms really like my job and there are plenty of oportunities around. I know many slashdoters like me that are more experienced have encountered similar situations. Do ITIL really creative and skilled people? Is my kind doomed to oblivion and I’ll face stuff like this anywhere I go?"

+ - Microsoft's 'Delve' Will Tell You What Your Co-Workers Are Doing With Office->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Users of one of Microsoft's business-class Office 365 plans will soon have access to Delve, a feature designed to analyze how people work on Office 365 and automatically make relevant data on colleagues and content easily accessible. For example, using calendar information, Delve can determine that a user has a meeting in four hours, what topics will be discussed and who will participate, so the application collects documents, files and information it deems relevant and displays the content in the dashboard. Will this herald a new era of assisted collaboration, or is this just Clippy in the cloud?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Obstruction is a wild overstatement (Score 4, Informative) 340

Obstruction of justice is typically things like bribing witnesses, which is specifically mentioned in the law. Not refusing to unlock oa locked cell-phone, which the courts have held requires a warrant in other circumstances.

From the information in the article, this sounds like an attempt to scare a citizen into doing something.

Attempts to widen this particular law to cover less serious crimes get rejected by the courts: the very first case on the subject inCanII says (emphasis added)

[19] Moreover, an assertion that the mere attempt by an accused to identify an informant is a crime, fails to take into account that the types of conduct which constitute obstruction of justice, even though not fully articulated in the Criminal Code, are relatively well and narrowly defined in the law, and must remain so narrowly defined in order to have certainty in the law. Offences against the administration of justice have always included such conduct as attempting to influence a jury or to threaten a witness, or publishing sensitive information when a matter is working its way through the justice system, a general category of conduct which lawyers sometimes call an infraction of the sub judice rule. I have been unable to find a single suggestion anywhere in the law that an accused cannot take steps to identify a police informant; the court should act with restraint in opening new classes of obstruction of justice. Although obstruction of justice is an evolving concept, its main tendency is to narrow the categories of conduct which may constitute a crime rather than to enlarge them: Sunday Times. Recent examples of the narrowing of the categories include the removal of scandalizing the court as a matter of contempt, Kopyto, and the striking down of the publication ban on bail hearings, White.

Comment: Re:Boot from rescue disk, inspect disk and boot pr (Score 1) 324

by davecb (#49160569) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Only on-disk, non-addressable controller proms are "read" by the software in the proms.

The boot prom has to boot stuff or the product can't be sold, and in this case is used to boot a program that runs on the hardware that continuously reads the prom. That HW can verify it, and all the other proms which are reachable from the CPU, including all sorts of stuff plugged into the various busses. That includes some disks, the ones we were worried about viruses wiping.

For some specific disks, you may have to pull the drive and clamp directly to the prom's pins.Those are the ones a spy would want to subvert.

Comment: Boot from rescue disk, inspect disk and boot proms (Score 1) 324

by davecb (#49158497) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

Boot from a randomly chosen Linux rescue disk, and check the various proms. You've used the boot rom to boot a CD/DVD, but what you've booted is wildly different from the Windows systems that are the common target, so the attackers will have great difficulty in hiding what they've done from an unfamiliar system.

It's actually easier to hide evil stuff in disk proms, as your only access to them is via routines *in* the disk prom, as one of the other commentators pointed out,

Comment: Re:but I'll defend to the death your right to say (Score 1) 285

by davecb (#49131865) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

I was commenting on Google's actions being incongrous in the US, where free speech is a social norm. That it was even part of the constitution of the country, unlike many other countries of the day, was an example of the importance it had in the minds of the Colonists.

[ I'm eminently aware of the narrowness of US constitutional law! Apologies for going off-topic, but ...

It's widely cited in the popular press to excuse unconscionable actions by non-government actors. The assumption seems to be that if the government is prohibited from doing something, everyone else is therefor perfectly free to do it, whether or not it's a good idea. To use a frivolous example from India, it does not follow that if a government is prohibited from strangling random passers-by, that individual devotees of Kali can then take it up as a hobby.]

Comment: but I'll defend to the death your right to say it (Score 3, Interesting) 285

by davecb (#49119121) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

The full quote is Voltaire's, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

I'm unimpressed by Google's position: in other countries they push back against restriction on free speech. It seem incongrous to impose speech limitations in the US, which actually has the right to free speech as part of their constitution.

+ - What If We Lost the Sky?

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Anna North writes in the NYT that a report released last week by the National Research Council calls for research into reversing climate change through a process called albedo modification: reflecting sunlight away from earth by, for instance, spraying aerosols into the atmosphere. But such a process could, some say, change the appearance of the sky — and that in turn could affect everything from our physical health to the way we see ourselves. “You’d get whiter skies. People wouldn’t have blue skies anymore.” says Alan Robock.“Astronomers wouldn’t be happy, because you’d have a cloud up there permanently. It’d be hard to see the Milky Way anymore.”

According to Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California, losing the night sky would have big consequences. “When you go outside, and you walk in a beautiful setting, and you just feel not only uplifted but you just feel stronger. There’s clearly a neurophysiological basis for that," says Keltner adding that looking up at a starry sky provides “almost a prototypical awe experience,” an opportunity to feel “that you are small and modest and part of something vast.” If we lose the night sky “we lose something precious and sacred.” “We’re finding in our lab that the experience of awe gets you to feel connected to something larger than yourself, see the humanity in other people,” says Paul K. Piff. “In many ways it’s kind of an antidote to narcissism.” And the sky is one of the few sources of that experience that’s available to almost everybody: “Not everyone has access to the ocean or giant trees, or the Grand Canyon, but we certainly all live beneath the night sky.”

Alan Robock says one possible upside of adding aerosols could be beautiful red and yellow sunsets as “the yellow and red colors reflect off the bottom of this cloud.” Robock recommends more research into albedo modification: “If people ever are tempted to do this, I want them to have a lot of information about what the potential benefits and risks would be so they can make an informed decision. Dr. Abdalati says that deploying something like albedo modification is a last-ditch effort adding that “we’ve gotten ourselves into a climate mess. The fact that we’re even talking about these kinds of things is indicative of that.”"

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin