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Submission + - Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

merbs writes: A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport's "prehistoric" operating system. The computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor. DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992.

Submission + - Man shoots down drone hovering over his backyard (

SonicSpike writes: The way William Merideth sees it, it’s pretty clear-cut: a drone flying over his backyard was a well-defined invasion of privacy, analogous to a physical trespassing.
Not knowing who owned it, the Kentucky man took out his shotgun and fired three blasts of Number 8 birdshot to take the drone out.

"It was just right there," he told Ars. "It was hovering, I would never have shot it if it was flying. When he came down with a video camera right over my back deck, that's not going to work. I know they're neat little vehicles, but one of those uses shouldn’t be flying into people's yards and videotaping."

Minutes later, a car full of four men that he didn’t recognize rolled up, "looking for a fight."

"Are you the son of a bitch that shot my drone?" one said, according to Merideth.

His terse reply to the men, while wearing a 10mm Glock holstered on his hip: "If you cross that sidewalk onto my property, there’s going to be another shooting."

The men backed down, retreated to their car, and waited for the police to arrive.

"His only comment was that he hoped I had a big checkbook because his drone cost $1,800," Merideth added.

The Kentuckian was arrested Sunday evening in Hillview, Kentucky, just south of Louisville and charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment. He was released the following day.

Submission + - The Tricky Business of Being a Male Advocate for CS Gender Equality

theodp writes: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) recently doled out $200,000 of money to reward three CS departments that have shown significant positive outcomes in women’s enrollment and graduation rates. Now, in a Wired piece entitled The Tricky (and Necessary) Business of Being a Male Advocate for CS Gender Equality, NCWIT senior research scientists Catherine Ashcraft and Wendy DuBow offer their ideas for getting men involved in gender diversity efforts, which includes some no-good-deed-goes-unpunished advice for potential male allies: "Don’t be alarmed-or even confused-if some women refuse, resist, or react negatively to your initial interest. Instead, recognize that this is an understandable, even logical, reaction to longtime experience as a minority in a majority environment. Recognize that it might sometimes take a while to build trust, and some women may never want to participate...Even if a negative reaction seems unreasonable or unfair, we suggest reframing this as an incredibly valuable opportunity for experiencing what it’s like to be a woman in tech, or any minority in a majority group environment. In other words, if such an experience makes it feel like you’re walking on eggshells or makes you worry about being misunderstood, imagine feeling like that much of the day, every day, at work. This temporary experience can help foster empathy and help you make sense of why these negative reactions might occur." And you can take some comfort in knowing that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and other male allies will no doubt feel your pain.

Submission + - Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour writes: Jennifer Medina reports at the NYT that the the city council of nation’s second-largest city voted by a 14-1 margin to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, in what is perhaps the most significant victory so far in the national push to raise the minimum wage. Several other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Oakland, Calif., have already approved increases, and dozens more are considering doing the same. In 2014, a number of Republican-leaning states like Alaska and South Dakota also raised their state-level minimum wage by referendum. The impact is likely to be particularly strong in Los Angeles, where, according to some estimates, more than 40 percent of the city’s work force earns less than $15 an hour. “The proposal will bring wages up in a way we haven’t seen since the 1960s," says Michael Reich. "There’s a sense spreading that this is the new norm, especially in areas that have high costs of housing.”

It's important to remember that the minimum wage hike comes at a significant direct cost to business — well over a $1 billion a year, according to the mayor's analysis — and it would be foolish to pretend that it won't lead to some job losses and business closures. Critics say the increase will turn the city into a “wage island,” pushing businesses away into nearby places where they can pay employees less. “They are asking businesses to foot the bill on a social experiment that they would never do on their own employees,” says Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a trade group that represents companies and other organizations in Southern California. “A lot of businesses aren’t going to make it. It’s great that this is an increase for some employees, but the sad truth is that a lot of employees are going to lose their jobs.”

Submission + - Activists chase Joss Whedon away from twitter (

goose-incarnated writes: Joss Whedon has deleted his twitter account (again) after criticism and death threats were directed to him on twitter.

Fans may remember him fondly for Firefly (and later Serenity) but his most recent directorial effort, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, attracted the ire of many feminists who accused him of being misogynistic and sexist.

"In the past, Whedon has used his Twitter account to voice his support for activist Anita Sarkeesian". In what many would view as an ironic turn of the tables, Whedon now has his peers and fans defending him from the curses and threats of the self-proclaimed activists.

Submission + - Mississippi - The Nation's Leader in Vaccination Rates writes: The NYT reports that Mississippi — which ranks as one of the worst states for smoking, obesity and physical inactivity — seldom is viewed as a leader on health issues. But it is one of two states that permit neither religious nor philosophical exemptions to its vaccination program. Only children with medical conditions that would be exacerbated by vaccines may enroll in Mississippi schools without completing the immunization schedule, which calls for five vaccines. With a vaccination rate of greater than 99.7%, Mississippi leads the national median by five percentage points and has the country’s highest immunization rate among kindergarten students.

However, in recent weeks, the nearly unbending nature of Mississippi’s law requiring students to be vaccinated has been in jeopardy, with two dozen lawmakers publicly supporting an exemption for “conscientious beliefs” turning Mississippi into one more battleground between medical experts who champion vaccinations and parents who fear the government’s role in medical decision-making. “We have been a victim of our success, and people don’t realize how bad these diseases are,” said Mississippi state epidemiologist, Dr. Thomas E. Dobbs III, before lawmakers met to consider a bill that would have expanded exceptions to the vaccine requirement. Members of the education committee for the House of Representatives, in effect, endorsed the state’s current approach. By a voice vote, they advanced a heavily amended version of the bill that now calls for only technical changes to Mississippi’s law, which has been largely untouched since the late 1970s. The amended version of House Bill 130 puts into law the state's existing practice of granting medical waivers to children whose physicians request them, and in doing so, removes the Mississippi Department of Health's ability to deny such requests. "If a medical professional thinks it's wise not to vaccinate, then that will be the gospel," said House Education Committee Chairman John Moore, R-Brandon.

Submission + - Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA writes: Jennifer Abel writes at the LA times that according to a recent survey over 80% of Americans says they support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,” roughly the same number that support the mandatory labeling of GMO foods “produced with genetic engineering.” Ilya Somin, writing about the survey at the Washington Post, suggested that a mandatory label for foods containing DNA might sound like this: "WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both animals and humans. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children."

The report echoes a well-known joke/prank wherein people discuss the dangers of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide" also known as hydrogen oxide and hydrogen hydroxide. Search online for information about dihydrogen monoxide, and you'll find a long list of scary-sounding and absolutely true warnings about it: the nuclear power industry uses enormous quantities of it every year. Dihydrogen monoxide is used in the production of many highly toxic pesticides, and chemical weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions. Dihydrogen monoxide is found in all tumors removed from cancer patients, and is guaranteed fatal to humans in large quantities and even small quantities can kill you, if it enters your respiratory system. In 2006, in Louisville, Kentucky, David Karem, executive director of the Waterfront Development Corporation, a public body that operates Waterfront Park, wished to deter bathers from using a large public fountain. "Counting on a lack of understanding about water's chemical makeup," he arranged for signs reading: "DANGER! – WATER CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF HYDROGEN – KEEP OUT" to be posted on the fountain at public expense

Submission + - Long-term study finds zero link between violence in video games and real life (

SternisheFan writes: The first long-term study has been completed on the link between the consumption of violent media and real-life violent acts, and has found... there is none. In fact, the only possible trend that cropped up over the last century was that an increased consumption of violent video games correlated to a decrease in youth violence.

The results have been published in the Journal of Communication.

Submission + - CEOs who make outragous pecentages of company revenues (

bizwriter writes: Top earning Charif Souki of Cheniere Energy had a compensation package last year of almost $142 million, even as company revenue was $267 million with a loss of $554 million. His pay package was more than half company revenue. It turns out that hundreds of companies devote 1 percent or more — sometimes a lot more — of their revenue to pay their CEOs, including heads of such tech companies as Zynga, Splunk, TripAdvisor, Progress Software, and zulily.

Submission + - Pentagon : scope of intelligence compromised by Snowden 'staggering' (

RockDoctor writes: The Grauniad are reporting that a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed a report (or 12 pages of a 37-page report, the remainder censored) that

“the scope of the compromised knowledge related to US intelligence capabilities is staggering”

Well isn't that just terribly sad for them. My heart bleeds. Ed Snowden, if we ever meet, the first beer is my shout.

Submission + - US "in denial" over poor Maths standards (

thephydes writes: "The maths skills of teenagers in parts of the deep south of the United States are worse than in countries such as Turkey and barely above South American countries such as Chile and Mexico."

Submission + - Earliest Known Pterosaur Described (

damn_registrars writes: A fossil of the earliest known Pterosaur flying reptile was found recently in China. Named Kryptodrakon progenitor, it was described in a paper published yesterday in the journal current biology ( (paywalled by Elsevier). A less restrictive summary of the findings is in National Geographic (

Submission + - Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner to Code

theodp writes: Gigaom reports tbat while speaking at the Bloomberg Energy Summit on Wednesday, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he gives "a lot of money to the Sierra Club" to help close dirty coal plants, but added that as a society we have to "have some compassion to do it gently." Subsidies to help displaced workers are one option, said Bloomberg, while retraining is another option. But, in a slight to the tech industry's sometimes out-of-touch nature with workers outside of Silicon Valley, he said retraining needs to be realistic, "You're not going to teach a coal miner to code", argued Bloomberg. "Mark Zuckerberg says you teach them to code and everything will be great. I don't know how to break it to you ...but no."

Submission + - The FBI Gamified the Hunt For One of Its Most Wanted (

Daniel_Stuckey writes: The FBI just gamified its latest manhunt. As I was just scanning the bureau's many twitter feeds, I saw a couple of fresh tweets reporting that William Bradford Bishop, Jr. had just been added to the bureau's most wanted list.

When I clicked on the tweet that offered a photo gallery of Bishop, the 'Family Annihilator,' some studio-lit photos of this gallery-quality clay bust were far beyond the everyday mug shots I'd expected.

"Am I'm picking out which glasses my character in GTA will wear?" I thought as I looked at artist Karen Taylor's masterful 3D rendering of Bishop. Bishop is a man who has been a fugitive for almost 40 years (he's 77 now, and Taylor age-processed him to look that old) after allegedly killing his mother, his wife, and their three sons in Bethesda, Md. Bishop, a former Foreign Service officer for the State Department, is described by the FBI as "highly intelligent," and investigators on his case believe he could be hiding in plain sight.

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.