Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects 1

Submitted by osage
osage (3886749) writes "Several colleagues and I have worked on an open source project for over 20 years under a corporate aegis. Though nothing like Apache, we have a sizable user community and the software is considered one of the de facto standards for what it does. The problem is that we have never been able to attract new, younger programmers, and members of the original set have been forced to find jobs elsewhere or are close to retirement. The corporation has no interest in supporting the software. Thus, in the near future, the project will lose its web site host and be devoid of its developers and maintainers. Our initial attempts to find someone to adopt the software haven't worked. We are looking for suggestions as to what course to pursue. We can't be the only open source project in this position."

+ - Magnetic Field Flip Earlier Than Thought->

Submitted by eedwardsjr
eedwardsjr (1327857) writes "From Metro UK:

Berkeley scientists say that the Earth’s magnetic field can weaken and dip within just 100 years, before flipping so that compasses point south – an event they admit could wreck the entire world’s power grid and expose the world to deadly cosmic rays.

Earth’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal at present, leading geophysicists to predict a flip within a few thousand years – but Discovery news says that could understimate [sic] the speed of the change."

Link to Original Source

+ - 32 Cities Want to Challenge Big Telecom, Build Their Own Gigabit Networks

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "More than two dozen cities in 19 states announced today that they're sick of big telecom skipping them over for internet infrastructure upgrades and would like to build gigabit fiber networks themselves and help other cities follow their lead.
The Next Centuries Cities coalition, which includes a couple cities that already have gigabit fiber internet for their residents, was devised to help communities who want to build their own broadband networks navigate logistical and legal challenges to doing so."

+ - Does Lockheed Martin Really Have a Breakthrough Fusion Machine?->

Submitted by Mr D from 63
Mr D from 63 (3395377) writes "Some followup to the recent /. article on this topic;

Lockheed Martin’s announcement last week that it had secretly developed a promising design for a compact nuclear fusion reactor has met with excitement but also skepticism over the basic feasibility of its approach.

Ian Hutchinson, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, says he was only able to comment on what Lockheed has released—some pictures, diagrams, and commentary, which can be found here. “Based on that, as far as I can tell, they aren’t paying attention to the basic physics of magnetic-confinement fusion energy. And so I’m highly skeptical that they have anything interesting to offer,” he says...

"

Link to Original Source

+ - Unix Admins on Debian's systemd adoption: "The Fork is strong with this one"

Submitted by Tsolias
Tsolias (2813011) writes "It appears that systemd is still a hot topic in the Debian community. As seen earlier today, there is a new movement shaping up against the adoption of systemd for the upcoming stable release, Jessie. They claim that "systemd betrays the UNIX philosophy", it makes things more complex, thus breaking the "do one thing and do it well" principle."

+ - Britain May "Go Medieval" On Terrorists And Charge Them With High Treason ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The British government have been discussing charging Britons that swear allegiance and fight for ISIS with the crime of high treason under the medieval era Treason Act of 1351. It is estimated that between 500 — 1,500 Britons fought for ISIS. Civil rights activists consider the idea “ludicrous” although it is unclear if they think there is a free speech or conscience issue. Treason was punishable by death until 1998. The last person to be executed for treason by Britain was William Joyce who was hung for his role as the Nazi propagandist "Lord Haw-Haw.""
Link to Original Source

+ - JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface->

Submitted by CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Alex Liu is a senior UI engineer at Netflix and part of the core team leading the migration of Netflix.com to Node.js. He has an article at ACM's Queue in which he describes how JavaScript is used at Netflix. "With increasingly more application logic being shifted to the browser, developers have begun to push the boundaries of what JavaScript was originally intended for. Entire desktop applications are now being rebuilt entirely in JavaScript—the Google Docs office suite is one example. Such large applications require creative solutions to manage the complexity of loading the required JavaScript files and their dependencies. The problem can be compounded when introducing multivariate A/B testing, a concept that is at the core of the Netflix DNA. Multivariate testing introduces a number of problems that JavaScript cannot handle using native constructs, one of which is the focus of this article: managing conditional dependencies.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Cops Need a Warrant to Grab Your Cell Tower Data, Florida Court Rules->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "BY KIM ZETTER 10.17.14 | 3:31 PM |

Americans may have a Florida drug dealer to thank for expanding our right to privacy.

Police departments around the country have been collecting phone metadata from telecoms and using a sophisticated spy tool to track people through their mobile phones—often without obtaining a warrant. But a new ruling out of Florida has curbed the activity in that state, on constitutional grounds. It raises hope among civil liberties advocates that other jurisdictions around the country may follow suit.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that obtaining cell phone location data to track a person’s location or movement in real time constitutes a Fourth Amendment search and therefore requires a court-ordered warrant.

The case specifically involves cell tower data for a convicted drug dealer that police obtained from a telecom without a warrant. But the way the ruling is written (.pdf), it would also cover the use of so-called “stingrays”—sophisticated technology law enforcement agencies use to locate and track people in the field without assistance from telecoms. Agencies around the country, including in Florida, have been using the technology to track suspects—sometimes without obtaining a court order, other times deliberately deceiving judges and defendants about their use of the devices to track suspects, telling judges the information came from “confidential” sources rather than disclose their use of stingrays. The new ruling would require them to obtain a warrant or stop using the devices.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls the Florida ruling “a resounding defense” of the public’s right to privacy."

Link to Original Source

+ - Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's do both, smartly 1

Submitted by TheRealHocusLocus
TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Preppers have a saying, "two is one and one is none" which might also apply to 24x7 base load energy sources that could sustain us beyond the age of fossil fuel. I too was happy to see Skunkworks' Feb 2013 announcement and the recent hello again, still making progress reminder — I was moved by the reaction on Slashdot: a ground swell of "Finally!" and "We're saved!" Do you think fusion is 'the' solution, and yields 'no' radioactive waste?

All nuclear reactors will generate waste via activation as the materials of which they are constructed erode and become unstable under high neutron flux. I'm not pointing this out because I think it's a big deal — a few fusion advocates disingenuously tend to sell the process as if it were '100% clean'. I think that a low volume of non-recyclable waste from fusion reactors that is walk-away safe in ~100 years is doable. Let's do it. And likewise, the best comparable waste profile for fission is a two-fluid LFTR, a low volume of waste that is walk-away safe in ~300 years. Let's do it.

Why pursue both, with at least the same level of urgency? Because both could carry us indefinitely. Because LFTR is a sure thing. It is less complicated in theory and practice. It is closer to market. Yes those are my opinions, but I've been looking into this for awhile. There is plenty of cross-over, LFTR's materials challenges and heat engine interface — and the necessity for waste management — are the same as they will be for commercial scale fusion reactors. To get up to speed please see the 2006 fusion lecture by Dr. Robert Bussard on the Wiffle ball 6 plasma containment, likely the precursor to the Skunkworks approach. And see Thorium Remix 2011 which presents the case for LFTR. Four hours well spent. Saving humanity is worth having at least two eggs in the basket."

+ - Python-LMDB in a high-performance environment

Submitted by lkcl
lkcl (517947) writes "In an open letter to the core developers behind OpenLDAP (Howard Chu) and Python-LMDB (David Wilson) is a story of a successful creation of a high-performance task scheduling engine written (perplexingly) in python. With only partial optimisation allowing tasks to be executed in parallel at a phenomenal rate of 240,000 per second, the choice to use Python-LMDB for the per-task database store based on its benchmarks as well as its well-researched design criteria turned out to be the right decision. Part of the success was also due to earlier architectural advice gratefully received here on slashdot. What is puzzling though is that LMDB on wikipedia is being constantly deleted, despite its "notability" by way of being used in a seriously-long list of prominent software libre projects, which has been, in part, motivated by the Oracle-driven BerkeleyDB license change. It would appear that the original complaint about notability came from an Oracle employee as well..."

+ - Debian - preserve freedom of choice of init systems->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes ""Debian has decided (via the technical committee) to change its
    default init system for the next release. The technical committee
    decided not to decide about the question of "coupling" i.e. whether
    other packages in Debian may depend on a particular init system.

    This GR seeks to preserve the freedom of our users now to select an
    init system of their choice, and the project's freedom to select a
    different init system in the future. It will avoid Debian becoming
    accidentally locked in to a particular init system (for example,
    because so much unrelated software has ended up depending on a
    particular init system that the burden of effort required to change
    init system becomes too great). A number of init systems exist, and
    it is clear that there is not yet broad consensus as to what the
    best init system might look like.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Fighting the culture of 'Worse is Better'->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Developer Paul Chiusano thinks much of programming culture has been infected by a "worse is better" mindset, where trade-offs to preserve compatibility and interoperability cripple the functionality of vital languages and architectures. He says, [W]e do not merely calculate in earnest to what extent tradeoffs are necessary or desirable, keeping in mind our goals and values, there is a culture around making such compromises that actively discourages people from even considering more radical, principled approaches." Chiusano takes C++ as an example, explaining how Stroustrup's insistence that it retain full compatibility with C has led to decades of problems and hacks. He says this isn't necessarily the wrong approach, but the culture of software development prevents us from having a reasoned discussion about it. "Developing software is a form of investment management. When a company or an individual develops a new feature, inserts a hack, hires too quickly without sufficient onboarding or training, or works on better infrastructure for software development (including new languages, tools, and the like), these are investments or the taking on of debt. ... The outcome of everyone solving their own narrow short-term problems and never really revisiting the solutions is the sea of accidental complexity we now operate in, and which we all recognize is a problem.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Birth control pills threaten fish stocks

Submitted by BarbaraHudson
BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Experimental research has shown that small amounts of estrogen in waste water can lead to rapid large-scale changes in fish populations.

The lead researcher of a new study is calling for improvements to some of Canada's waste water treatment facilities after finding that introducing the birth control pill in waterways created a chain reaction in a lake ecosystem that nearly wiped out a freshwater fish.

"Right away, the male fish started to respond to the estrogen exposure by producing egg yolk proteins and shortly after that they started to develop eggs," she said in an interview from Saint John, N.B. "They were being feminized."

Kidd said shortly after introducing the estrogen, the number of fathead minnow crashed, reducing numbers to just one per cent of the population.

"It was really unexpected that they would react so quickly and so dramatically," she said. "The crash in the population was very evident and very dramatic and very rapid and related directly to the estrogen addition."

Kidd said that created a domino effect, causing the population of lake trout, the fathead minnow's main predator, to decline. She said the number of insects, the fathead minnow's main source of food, also started to increase.

The good news is that after removing the estrogen, the fathead minnow population recovered back to what it was before the research began.

"

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

Working...