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Earth

Researchers Race To Recover Radioactive Rabbits 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the night-of-the-lepus dept.
Ponca City writes "The Tri-City Herald reports that radioactive rabbit droppings were recently found near the old Hanford Nuclear Site in southeast Washington that produced nuclear materials for 40 years and is now being decontaminated. The Department of Health looks for contamination off-site to make sure there is no public hazard and a rabbit trapped at the 300 Area caught their attention because it was close enough to the site's boundaries to potentially come in contact with the public. Joe Franco, an assistant manager for the Department of Energy, said workers erected fences, removed potential food sources and even sprayed the scent of a predator around the perimeter to prevent any other rabbit contamination and the Department of Energy said only one of 18 rabbits surveyed were deemed contaminated. Researchers narrowed the area of possible contamination to the 327 Building used during the Cold War for testing highly radioactive materials, particularly fuel elements and cladding that were irradiated at Hanford reactors as part of plutonium production for the nation's nuclear weapons program. Because the number of contaminated droppings being discovered on-site has decreased, officials now believe it's possible that just one rabbit might have been contaminated and they now are finding old droppings from it."
Businesses

High-Frequency Programmers Revolt Over Pay 1018

Posted by kdawson
from the crying-all-the-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Programmers who design and code algorithms for investment banking are unhappy with their salaries. Many of them receive a low 6-figure salary whereas their bosses — who manipulate these algorithms and execute the trades — often earn millions. One such anonymous programmer points out that he was paid $150,000 per year, whereas the software he wrote was generating $100,000 per day."

Comment: Re:Good luck with that ... (Score 2, Interesting) 198

by dintlu (#33048284) Attached to: Google Nabs Patent To Monitor Your Cursor Movement

I highlight text, too.

Some people hover over the text that they are reading, moving the mouse in parallel lines across the screen and indicating to Google the speed at which they read,
Some people don't move the mouse at all while reading.
Some people throw the mouse to the corner of the screen while they're reading.
Some people hover over ads but don't click. Others avoid hovering over ads.
Some people's behavior changes when they use a laptop versus a desktop.

Most of the people I know consistently perform a single mousing behavior on websites, and there's a finite amount of variation between individuals.

The idea to observe people's idiosyncratic behaviors in order to classify them into actionable categories is pretty obvious, though, and I don't see how Google's saying "This *specific* behavior, in this *specific* industry" in a patent application qualifies them to prevent other organizations from performing this sort of analysis.

Comment: Re:Retarded (Score 4, Informative) 570

by dintlu (#32168494) Attached to: Mozilla Reveals Firefox 4 Plans

It doesn't help that the linked article is terrible. A whole pile of performance updates are being made in addition to the UI changes:

JagerMonkey
HTML5 Parser off main thread
64 bit support
Startup timeline optimizations
Reduced I/O operations on main thread
JS threads and GC
DOM Performance improvements
Layers for compositing, scrolling

+

Graphics compositing with Layers
Hardware acceleration using Direct3D
Multitouch support
Aero Peek integration
OSX integration

I'd suggest reading the actual presentation for more information:
http://beltzner.ca/mike/2010/05/10/firefox-4-fast-powerful-and-empowering/

Operating Systems

Next Ubuntu Linux To Be a Maverick 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-lock-for-the-primaries dept.
VincenzoRomano writes "While the latest version of Ubuntu is still smoking hot, the Ubuntu development community is already working on the next step. Both the wiki and the bug tracking system at Launchpad have already been set up for Maverick Meerkat, which will be version number 10.10. This confirms the usual naming and numbering schema and the fact that the final release should be due in October. This next version, which obviously won't be Long Term Support (LTS), should sport a lighter and faster environment with GNOME 3.0, a.k.a. GNOME Shell, among the main advances. Everything has been explained by Mr. Shuttleworth in his own blog since the beginning of April. The first alpha release is not due earlier than the end of June, so maybe it'd be better to take advantage of the Lucid Lynx while the technical overview of the Meerkat starts getting more details."
United States

11th Circuit Eliminates 4th Amend. In E-mail 490

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-that's-not-very-good dept.
Artefacto writes "Last Thursday, the Eleventh Circuit handed down a Fourth Amendment case, Rehberg v. Paulk, that takes a very narrow view of how the Fourth Amendment applies to e-mail. The Eleventh Circuit held that constitutional protection in stored copies of e-mail held by third parties disappears as soon as any copy of the communication is delivered. Under this new decision, if the government wants get your e-mails, the Fourth Amendment lets the government go to your ISP, wait the seconds it normally takes for the e-mail to be delivered, and then run off copies of your messages."
Image

Man Swallows USB Flash Drive Evidence 199 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the chew-it-up dept.
SlideRuleGuy writes "In a bold and bizarre attempt to destroy evidence seized during a federal raid, a New York City man grabbed a flash drive and swallowed the data storage device while in the custody of Secret Service agents. Records show Florin Necula ingested the Kingston flash drive shortly after his January 21 arrest outside a bank in Queens. A Kingston executive said it was unclear if stomach acid could damage one of their drives. 'As you might imagine, we have no actual experience with someone swallowing a USB.' I imagine that would be rather painful. But did he follow his mother's advice and chew thoroughly, first? Apparently not, as the drive was surgically recovered."

Comment: Re:Why is it illegal? (Score 1) 574

by dintlu (#31330690) Attached to: Scalpers Earned $25M Gaming Online Ticket Sellers

It doesn't work, because it's a silly libertarian ideal, based on an incomplete model of rationality.

Calling people idiots because they are either unwilling or unable to mold their behavior to fit your ideal is juvenile, and it doesn't change the fact that your arguments are based on completely unrealistic assumptions.

Comment: Re:Why is it illegal? (Score 1) 574

by dintlu (#31330056) Attached to: Scalpers Earned $25M Gaming Online Ticket Sellers

Scalpers are rent-seeking middlemen who don't add any value to their product.

Supermarkets and McDonalds and BK all add value to the products they resell, either by assembling them into individual servings of bulk product, or by presenting their products for sale with many other options. Scalpers, in contrast, push people out of the ticket-buying process using unfair automation tactics (in violation of the first seller's TOS, typically), then relist those tickets at higher prices for their own personal gain, taking advantage of people's desire to consume a limited resource to earn money for themselves. Scalpers are a broken window, a drain on society. Their "business" is fundamentally unfair and if it isn't illegal, it should be.

This "vote with your dollars" bullshit doesn't work in the real world.

Comment: Re:Time does not exist (Score 1) 578

by dintlu (#31292670) Attached to: What Is Time? One Researcher Shares His Exploration

This is the most ridiculous semantic argument I have ever read. Saying that "time doesn't exist" is a cop-out for simple minds.

"Time" is the word we use to describe the chain of causality that human beings can commonly observe. Yes, there are a lot of assumptions inherent in our definition of the word, but that doesn't mean you can say it doesn't exist. All you can do is speculate on the nature of time based on your observations (i.e. "The only thing we have is present-moment memories, etc"), attempt to formulate a testable hypothesis, and seek falsifying or confirming evidence for that hypothesis.

It just so happens that's really difficult to do when every frame of reference you have occurs (or appears to occur) within the very thing you're trying to study.

Image

Hollywood Stock Exchange Set To Launch In April 100 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the put-me-down-for-$10-on-portman dept.
You can buy and sell actor or movie "stock" for virtual cash on the website Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX). Starting in April the company plans on letting you turn those movie performance predictions into real dollars. HSX filed with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission for approval as an active trading site in November 2008 and has just entered the final phase of regulatory review. Richard Jaycobs, president of HSX's parent company, said, "The number of people who visit movie theaters each year and form opinions about a film's success is in the tens of millions. We believe that's the reason the public response to this product has been very positive."

Comment: Re:That would be all well and good (Score 4, Insightful) 461

by dintlu (#31170014) Attached to: FCC Proposes 100Mbps Minimum Home Broadband Speed

I see this is a sign that the government is realizing the importance of the internet to the future of commerce and national security.

Minimum speed mandates are the first step towards government-maintained infrastructure. By setting a target the telcos will be unable to reach, and buoying consumer expectations to expect this level of service soon, the door is opened for the government to implement solutions for upgrading or providing a portion of the telecommunications infrastructure themselves.

Frankly the telcos have nobody but themselves to blame. They took taxpayer money and instead of spending it on infrastructure upgrades to keep the US competitive with other nations, they sat on their collective asses raking in record profits while the quality of their networks and their customer satisfaction went to shit. If market forces worked, this would be unnecessary.

Education

What Objects To Focus On For School Astronomy? 377

Posted by timothy
from the satellites-and-moonbeams dept.
IceDiver writes "I am a teacher in a small rural school. My Grade 9 students are doing a unit on astronomy this spring. I have access to a 4" telescope, and would like to give my students a chance to use it. We will probably only be able to attempt observations on a couple of nights because of weather and time restrictions. I am as new to telescope use as my students, so I have no idea what objects would look good through a 4" lens. What observations should I attempt to have my students make? In other words, how can I make best use of my limited equipment and time to give my students the best experience possible?"

Comment: Re:Anonymous Coward Trolls (Score 2, Insightful) 125

by dintlu (#31023740) Attached to: Google and NSA Teaming Up

The NSA and Google are in the same business: information.

They may have different motivations and methods, but at their core they are both organizations that collect huge amounts of information and use that information as a means to an end.

Google's "don't be evil" is a tacit acknowledgment of the power information wields, and seeing them team up with a disreputable organization like the NSA makes the parallels between the two very obvious, generating a flurry of AC comments to capitalize on the memetic opportunity.

Never trust an operating system.

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