Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance on Biofuels

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The NYT reports on a new study from a prominent environmental think tank that concludes that turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand and that continuing to pursue this strategy is likely to use up vast tracts of fertile land that could be devoted to helping feed the world’s growing population. “I would say that many of the claims for biofuels have been dramatically exaggerated,” says Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization based in Washington that is publishing the report. “There are other, more effective routes to get to a low-carbon world.” The report follows several years of rising concern among scientists about biofuel policies in the United States and Europe, and is the strongest call yet by the World Resources Institute, known for nonpartisan analysis of environmental issues, to urge governments to reconsider those policies.

Timothy D. Searchinger says that recent science has challenged some of the assumptions underpinning many of the pro-biofuel policies that have often failed to consider the opportunity cost of using land to produce plants for biofuel. According to Searchinger if forests or grasses were grown instead of biofuels, that would pull carbon dioxide out of the air, storing it in tree trunks and soils and offsetting emissions more effectively than biofuels would do. What is more, as costs for wind and solar power have plummeted over the past decade, and the new report points out that for a given amount of land, solar panels are at least 50 times more efficient than biofuels at capturing the energy of sunlight in a useful form. “It’s true that our first-generation biofuels have not lived up to their promise,” says Jason Hill said. “We’ve found they do not offer the environmental benefits they were purported to have, and they have a substantial negative impact on the food system.”"

+ - Microsoft Launches Outlook For Android And iOS 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft today launched Outlook for Android and iOS. The former is available (in preview) for download now on Google Play and the latter will arrive on Apple's App Store later today. The pitch is simple: Outlook will let you manage your work and personal email on your phone and tablet as efficiently as you do on your computer. The app also offers calendar features, attachment integration (with OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and iCloud), along with customizable swipes and actions so you can tailor it to how you specifically use email."

+ - LibreOffice gets a streamlined makeover, native alternatives for major Microsoft->

Submitted by TechCurmudgeon
TechCurmudgeon (3904121) writes "From PCWorld:
The Document foundation announced availability of the latest version of LibreOffice on Thursday, which it says is the most beautiful version of the open source productivity suite yet. LibreOffice 4.4 also fixes some compatibility issues with files that are saved in Microsoft's OOXML formats. LibreOffice 4.4 has got a lot of UX and design love," Jan "Kendy" Holesovsky, who leads the design team for Libreoffice, said in a statement.

LibreOffice 4.4 is currently available for Windows: https://www.libreoffice.org/do..."

Link to Original Source

+ - FSF endorsed Libreboot X200 laptop comes with Intel's AMT removed

Submitted by gnujoshua
gnujoshua (540710) writes "The Free Software Foundation has announced its endorsement of the Libreboot X200, a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad X200 sold by Gluglug. The laptop ships with 100% free software and firmware, including the FSF's endorsed Trisquel GNU/Linux and Libreboot. One of the biggest challenges overcome in achieving FSF's Respects Your Freedom certification was the complete removal of Intel's ME and AMT firmware. The AMT is a controversial proprietary backdoor technology that allows remote access to a machine even when it is powered off. Quoting from the press release:

"The ME and its extension, AMT, are serious security issues on modern Intel hardware and one of the main obstacles preventing most Intel based systems from being liberated by users. On most systems, it is extremely difficult to remove, and nearly impossible to replace. Libreboot X200 is the first system where it has actually been removed, permanently," said Gluglug Founder and CEO, Francis Rowe.

"

+ - US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One->

Submitted by Tyketto
Tyketto (97265) writes "Following up on a previous story about its replacement, the US Air Force has selected the Boeing 747-8 to replace the aging Presidential fleet of two VC-25s, which are converted B747-200s. With the only other suitable aircraft being the Airbus A380, the USAF cited Boeing's 50-year history of building presidential aircraft as their reason to skip competition and opt directly for the aircraft, which due to dwindling sales and prospects, may be the last 747s to be produced."
Link to Original Source

+ - FCC Approved Change in the definition of Broadband->

Submitted by halfEvilTech
halfEvilTech (1171369) writes "As part of its 2015 Broadband Progress Report, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to change the definition of broadband by raising the minimum download speeds needed from 4Mbps to 25Mbps, and the minimum upload speed from 1Mbps to 3Mbps, which effectively triples the number of US households without broadband access. Currently, 6.3 percent of US households don’t have access to broadband under the previous 4Mpbs/1Mbps threshold, while another 13.1 percent don't have access to broadband under the new 25Mbps downstream threshold."
Link to Original Source

+ - The January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics is a free PDF download->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "If you wanted to pinpoint the beginning of the PC era, you could do worse than to declare that it began when the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics magazine came out. It cover-featured the MITS Altair 8800, the first successful PC, and inspired Paul Allen and Bill Gates to found "Micro-Soft." I wrote about the issue, which is now available for free in PDF form (along with every other issue of Popular Electronics)."
Link to Original Source

+ - Telomere-Lengthening Procedure Turns Clock Back Years in Human Cells-> 2

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a new procedure to increase the length of human telomeres. This increases the number of times cells are able to divide, essentially making the cells many years younger. This not only has useful applications for laboratory work, but may point the way to treating various age-related disorders – or even muscular dystrophy."
Link to Original Source

+ - ATM Bombs Coming Soon to United States

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Nick Summers has an interesting article at Bloomberg about the epidemic of 90 ATM bombings that has hit Britain since 2013. ATM machines are vulnerable because the strongbox inside an ATM has two essential holes: a small slot in front that spits out bills to customers and a big door in back through which employees load reams of cash in large cassettes. "Criminals have learned to see this simple enclosure as a physics problem," writes Summers. "Gas is pumped in, and when it’s detonated, the weakest part—the large hinged door—is forced open. After an ATM blast, thieves force their way into the bank itself, where the now gaping rear of the cash machine is either exposed in the lobby or inside a trivially secured room. Set off with skill, the shock wave leaves the money neatly stacked, sometimes with a whiff of the distinctive acetylene odor of garlic." The rise in gas attacks has created a market opportunity for the companies that construct ATM components. Several manufacturers now make various anti-gas-attack modules: Some absorb shock waves, some detect gas and render it harmless, and some emit sound, fog, or dye to discourage thieves in the act.

As far as anyone knows, there has never been a gas attack on an American ATM. The leading theory points to the country’s primitive ATM cards. Along with Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and not many other countries, the U.S. doesn’t require its plastic to contain an encryption chip, so stealing cards remains an effective, nonviolent way to get at the cash in an ATM. Encryption chip requirements are coming to the U.S. later this year, though. And given the gas raid’s many advantages, it may be only a matter of time until the back of an American ATM comes rocketing off."

+ - The Net Neutrality Bait and Switch->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Susan Crawford argues that the GOP's amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 (which will probably get vetoed by the President) isn't their way of moving toward the side of pro-net neutrality, but will actually so limit the FCC to do anything, and that the true goal is to "[get] rid of the existing Telecommunications Act entirely.""
Link to Original Source

+ - YouTube Ditches Flash For HTML5 Video By Default

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "YouTube today announced it has finally stopped using Adobe Flash by default. The site now uses its HTML5 video player by default in Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s IE11, Apple’s Safari 8, and in beta versions of Mozilla’s Firefox browser. At the same time, YouTube is now also defaulting to its HTML5 player on the web. In fact, the company is deprecating the “old style” Flash object embeds and its Flash API, pointing users to the iframe API instead, since the latter can adapt depending on the device and browser you’re using."

+ - Rare astronomical event will see triple moon shadows on Jupiter->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Stargazers are in for a treat as they will be able to witness a rare astronomical event early tomorrow morning (January 24, 2015) where shadows of three of Jupiter’s largest moons — Io, Europa, and Callisto — will fall upon Jupiter simultaneously. Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will provide a live online broadcast on its Livestream channel. The event is slated to being on January 24, 2015 at 4:30 AM GMT and should end by 7:00 am GMT. For those in the PST, the event will happen today from 8:30 pm to 11:00 pm."
Link to Original Source

+ - First Baby Galapogos Tortoises Sighted in 150 Years->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "The Guardian, Nature, and other periodicals cover a report by Dr. James Gibbs of the State University of New York (SUNY-ESF) on the recent Pinzon Island population survey of giant tortoises. The survey of Galapogos (which means "tortoise" in Spanish) turned up the first reported sightings of baby tortoises in 150 years. Gibbs attributes the hopeful signs to a 2012 program to exterminate or control invasive rats, which are blamed for the low fertility rates, along with a 1982 repatriation of fertile tortoises from zoos. However, it's also possible, according to the article, that the researchers are just looking harder. The rare sightings may simply correlate with more frequent population surveys.

http://www.galapagos.org/blog/..."

Link to Original Source

+ - Extremely rare Star Trek Phaser prop is going on sale for $60,000

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The latest Star Trek item that’s going on sale and expected to go for a doozy of a price. A 47 year old Star Trek Phaser from the original show featuring original Enterprise Crew led by Captain Kirk, Spock, et al, is reportedly going to be sold for a price of a whopping $60,000 (£40,000). This fiberglass prop is apparently one of the two that are currently in existence and hence the fantastic price tag."

A list is only as strong as its weakest link. -- Don Knuth

Working...