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Security

Nuclear Weapons Create Their Own Security Codes With Radiation 104

Posted by samzenpus
from the missile-protect-thyself dept.
Zothecula writes "Nuclear weapons are a paradox. No one in their right mind wants to use one, but if they're to act as a deterrent, they need to be accessible. The trick is to make sure that access is only available to those with the proper authority. To prevent a real life General Jack D Ripper from starting World War III, Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) Defense Technologies Division is developing a system that uses a nuclear weapon's own radiation to protect itself from tampering.
Security

At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the secret-coffee dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this interesting story about what it's like to work at “Store Number 1,” the CIA's Starbucks. The new supervisor thought his idea was innocent enough. He wanted the baristas to write the names of customers on their cups to speed up lines and ease confusion, just like other Starbucks do around the world. But these aren't just any customers. They are regulars at the CIA Starbucks. "They could use the alias 'Polly-O string cheese' for all I care," said a food services supervisor at the Central Intelligence Agency, asking that his identity remain unpublished for security reasons. "But giving any name at all was making people — you know, the undercover agents — feel very uncomfortable. It just didn't work for this location."
Google

Google Quietly Nixes Mandatory G+ Integration With Gmail 139

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-now-I'll-like-it-better dept.
An anonymous reader writes Back in 2012, Google had made it mandatory for new Gmail users to simultaneously create Google+ (G+) accounts. This is no longer so. Following the departure of G+ founder Vic Gundotra in April 2014, Google has been quietly decoupling its social media site from its other services. First, YouTube was freed, then Google+ Photos. Now, anyone who wants to create a new Gmail account unencumbered with a G+ profile can also do so.
Government

City of Turin To Switch From Windows To Linux and Save 6M Euros 249

Posted by Soulskill
from the frugal-tux dept.
jrepin writes: The municipality of Turin in Italy hopes to save 6 million Euro over five years by switching from Windows XP to Ubuntu Linux in all of its offices. The move will mean installing the open source operating system on 8,300 PCs, which will generate an immediate saving of roughly €300 per machine (almost €2.5m altogether, made up from the cost of Windows and Office licences) — a sum that will grow over the years as the need for the renewal of proprietary software licences vanishes, and the employees get used to the new machines.

Comment: Re:How does he (Score 2) 226

by sh00z (#47827571) Attached to: Ask David Saltzberg About Being <em>The Big Bang Theory's</em> Science Advisor

rationalize a smoking hot chick hanging out with nerds?

Apparently, you've missed the running gags in which this is explained. To provide her with free wi-fi, and to set up her printer.

Like others, I had hopes that this show would break down some stereotypes, but it just reinforces them for big laughs.

Comment: Re:Not exactly endearing you to the public (Score 1) 441

by sh00z (#47731673) Attached to: Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers
These are the same companies that as part of setting up shop, extorted millions of dollars in tax exemptions out of the cities and states in which they operate their businesses, thereby depriving the public education system of the revenues needed to help their students achieve at the level the companies "require." They created this problem, and it's wholly disingenuous to claim that the only viable solution is to look outside of the country for talent. I'm not exactly a proponent of Big Government, but if President Obama is the only one who can make this point to them, and get them to wake up to the ethics of their situation, then he should absolutely clamp down on tech-driven immigration.
The Military

DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers To Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software 84

Posted by timothy
from the panzer-naturally-speaking dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes with a story about an interesting (or, you might think, creepy) institution at the University of Washington's Seattle campus. It's the Center for Game Science, a research lab that makes educational video games for children, and that received the bulk of its funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the wing of the U.S. Department of Defense that supports research into experimental military technology. Why is DARPA the original primary funder of the CGS? According to written and recorded statements from current and former DARPA program managers, as well as other government documents, the DARPA-funded educational video games developed at the CGS have a purpose beyond the pretense of teaching elementary school children STEM skills.

Comment: Re:Disengenous (Score 1) 306

by sh00z (#47573823) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

... With the ebook you get a ... license to read the book but only in the format you purchased your license for.

This applies equally to physical books.

You left out the word "revocable" in the original. With a paper book, the publisher cannot come into my home and take the book back.

Comment: Re:Disengenous (Score 1) 306

by sh00z (#47573757) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

WHAT? So, authors don't want to have a large price gap between a real book and an ebook? Do they NOT realize that with the real book you get an actual real book. With the ebook you get a limited, revocable license to read the book but only in the format you purchased your license for. I'm still wondering why the price gap isn't larger.

I think some publishers and authors "get it." Lucius Shepard's last two hardcover books were published by Subterranean Press, and came out with boutique retail pricing (~$40, if I recall). I bought *both* of them, because, well, it's Lucius Shepard, and every word is golden. Amazon.com offered both at quite nice discounts from MSRP, so that's where I made my purchase.

THEN, I spotted that Amazon has also released Kindle ebooks of both, at $5.99 and $6.99. This is, to me, a stunning example of price elasticity. These prices are so outrageously low that I happily bought the ebooks IN ADDITION TO the pbooks.

I have the best of both worlds. My treasured paper copies won't have to suffer from being thrown around on a car seat or taken to the beach, and I have the reassuring solidity of a real copy that isn't subject to licensing.

So, in some cases, increasing the price gap even further can lead to that most elusive thing in the publishing world: repeat sales.

United Kingdom

Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the none-more-black dept.
gbjbaanb writes A British company is developing a new material that's so black it absorbs all but 0.035 percent of the visual light, making it the darkest material ever created. Of course, apart from making album covers, it conducts heat 7 times better than copper and is 10 times stronger than steel. "The nanotube material, named Vantablack, has been grown on sheets of aluminium foil by the Newhaven-based company. While the sheets may be crumpled into miniature hills and valleys, this landscape disappears on areas covered by it. 'You expect to see the hills and all you can see it's like black, like a hole, like there's nothing there. It just looks so strange,' said Ben Jensen, the firm's chief technical officer.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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